What happened

Shares of Chemours (NYSE:CC) climbed more than 15% on Friday morning after the chemicals company reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings. The manufacturer dealt with a range of challenges in 2019, but has high hopes for 2020.

So what

After markets closed Thursday, Chemours reported adjusted fourth-quarter earnings of $0.56 per share, easily beating the $0.42 consensus estimate. Revenue came in at $1.4 billion, down 7% year over year but slightly ahead of expectations.

A chemical refinery.

Image source: Getty Images.

Shares of Chemours lost 35% of their value in 2019, as the company was plagued by operational issues, lawsuits, and weak demand for titanium dioxide and other commodity chemicals. It has tried to reshape its portfolio, including acquiring Southern Ionics Minerals and divesting its methylamines and methylamides business.

CEO Mark Vergnano said that the fourth-quarter results show that 2019 finished on a high note. "After a slow start, we began to build some momentum in the second half across several of our core products and end markets," Vergnano said.

Now what

Chemours said it expects 2020 adjusted earnings between $2.60 and $3.55 per share, in line with the $3.16 consensus. The company expects to report growth in both revenue and earnings, and to generate more than $350 million in free cash.

"While the macroeconomic environment remains uncertain, we remain committed to delivering solid earnings growth and a significant improvement in free cash flow," Vergnano said. "Looking ahead after a challenging year, we are well positioned to improve our performance in 2020 and are focused on continuing to unlock shareholder value over time."

There is still a lot of risk in the plan, including the threat of a global recession that further eats into demand. But Chemours management demonstrated that it is doing a good job controlling what it can.