Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Here's Why FMC Corporation Dropped 10.4% in October

By Maxx Chatsko - Nov 7, 2018 at 10:01AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The company's lithium segment successfully completed its listing as a separate publicly traded company -- then saw its shares drop.

What happened

Shares of FMC Corporation (FMC 0.64%) fell over 10% last month, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. While the majority of stocks dropped during the broad market sell-off in October, the lithium and agricultural technology company saw its shares decline for a unique reason: It completed the separation of its lithium segment and agricultural segment into two separate companies.

FMC Corporation now is solely focused on agricultural markets, while the newly listed Livent Corporation (LTHM 2.35%) will assume the ambitious expansion plans in the lithium markets. However, the separation isn't complete just yet. The parent still owns 85% of the lithium business, now in the form of shares of the separate publicly traded company, which it will spin off to existing FMC Corporation shareholders on March 1, 2019. I previously wrote that would occur in October, but that wasn't the case.

While both businesses reported strong third-quarter 2018 results in early November, there's going to be a lame-duck period as investors wait for the separation to be completed.

A cartoon of a battery with almost no charge left and a sad face.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

On the one hand, it's great that FMC Corporation has set expectations for what it intends to do and when it intends to do it. That provides certainty to the markets, Livent Corporation's employees, and shareholders of both companies.

On the other hand, everyone has to wait until March 2019 for finality regarding this separation. That means 85% of Livent Corporation's shares are essentially locked up (they're held by FMC Corporation and unavailable to provide liquidity to the lithium business), so the lithium stock will probably bob around in the meantime. Similarly, FMC Corporation expects to report the lithium business' operating results as its own through the fourth quarter of 2019, but investors may discount the data considering those operations will be jettisoned soon enough.

Now what

Simply put, investors might find it difficult to get excited about either stock until the spinoff is completed in March 2019, but there's still a lot to like when it comes to FMC Corporation. The business continues to plow through headwinds in the agricultural markets to deliver revenue and earnings growth. Investors who own shares today will get a piece of one of the world's leading lithium producers in early 2019 -- not this fall as originally reported.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

FMC Corporation Stock Quote
FMC Corporation
$108.92 (0.64%) $0.69
Livent Corporation Stock Quote
Livent Corporation
$24.82 (2.35%) $0.57

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/27/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.