Israeli chemical and specialty material producer ICL Group's (ICL 0.37%) first-quarter results came in much better than expected, and the company backed it up with a dramatic boost to full-year guidance. Investors are buying in, sending shares of ICL up as much as 14% in Wednesday trading. As of 2:20 p.m. ET, they were up 11.29%.
ICL, short for Israel Chemicals Limited, is a producer of bromine, potash, phosphate and other materials for global food, agriculture, and industrial markets. On Wednesday morning, the company reported earnings of $0.49 per share on revenue of $2.53 billion, easily surpassing analyst expectations for a $0.13 per-share profit on sales of $1.82 billion.
The company is benefiting from higher global demand for fertilizers, driven in part by sanctions on Russia and by a loss of Ukrainian food exports.
"ICL delivered record results, even with global uncertainty, and leveraged its agility and diversity in the face of continuing supply chain challenges," CEO Raviv Zoller said in a statement. "The disruptions caused by the pandemic, sanctions, and the conflict in Ukraine have radically shifted market dynamics and could continue to significantly impact global agriculture, food and industrial markets in the near term. We will continue to optimize our customer and supplier relationships, to manage through global supply challenges and to work to ensure consistent and reliable product supply for our customers."
ICL expects the tailwinds that benefited it in the first quarter to continue through the year. The company post earnings said it expects to generate earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of $3.5 billion to $3.75 billion in 2022. In February, ICL had forecast full-year EBITDA of $1.85 billion to $2.05 billion.
The company finds itself in the right place in the right time, and it appears to have the wherewithal and resources to take advantage of the market opportunity. Investors appear confident that ICL shares still have upside from here.