final10k2009.htm
 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
 
 
Form 10-K
 
(Mark One)
x
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
    
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009
 
OR
 
¨
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
    
For the transition period from              to            
 
Commission file number 1-1070
OLIN CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
 
   
Virginia
13-1872319
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
190 Carondelet Plaza, Suite 1530, Clayton, MO
(Address of principal executive offices)
63105-3443
(Zip code)
 
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (314) 480-1400
 
 
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
   
Title of each class
 
 
Name of each exchange
on which registered
 
 
Common Stock,
par value $1 per share
New York Stock Exchange
 
 
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes    x    No    ¨
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Yes    ¨    No    x
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes    x    No    ¨
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes    ¨    No    ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. x
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. Large Accelerated Filer x Accelerated Filer ¨ Non-accelerated Filer ¨ Smaller Reporting Company ¨
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.) Yes    ¨ No    x
 
As of June 30, 2009, the aggregate market value of registrant’s common stock, par value $1 per share, held by non-affiliates of registrant was approximately $926,999,831 based on the closing sale price as reported on the New York Stock Exchange.
 
As of January 29, 2010, 78,749,713 shares of the registrant’s common stock were outstanding.
 
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the following document are incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K
as indicated herein:
 
     
Document
 
Part of 10-K into which incorporated
Proxy Statement relating to Olin’s 2010
Annual Meeting of Shareholders
to be held on April 22, 2010
 
Part III


 

 


PART I
 
Item 1.  BUSINESS
 
GENERAL
 
Olin Corporation is a Virginia corporation, incorporated in 1892, having its principal executive offices in Clayton, MO.  We are a manufacturer concentrated in two business segments:  Chlor Alkali Products and Winchester®.  Chlor Alkali Products manufactures and sells chlorine and caustic soda, sodium hydrosulfite, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen, bleach products and potassium hydroxide, which represent 63% of 2009 sales.  Winchester products, which represent 37% of 2009 sales, include sporting ammunition, reloading components, small caliber military ammunition and components, and industrial cartridges.  See our discussion of our segment disclosures contained in Item 7—“Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

On October 15, 2007, we announced we entered into a definitive agreement to sell the Metals business to a subsidiary of Global Brass and Copper Holdings, Inc. (Global), an affiliate of KPS Capital Partners, LP, a New York-based private equity firm.  The transaction closed on November 19, 2007.  Accordingly, for all periods presented prior to the sale, Metals’ operating results and cash flows are reported as discontinued operations in the consolidated statements of operations and consolidated statements of cash flows, respectively.

On August 31, 2007 we acquired Pioneer Companies, Inc. (Pioneer), whose operating results are included in the accompanying consolidated financial statements since the date of acquisition.
 
GOVERNANCE
 
We maintain an Internet website at www.olin.com.  Our reports on Form 10-K, Form 10-Q, and Form 8-K, as well as amendments to those reports, are available free of charge on our website, as soon as reasonably practicable after we file the reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  Additionally, a copy of our SEC filings can be obtained at the SEC at their Office of Investor Education and Advocacy at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549 or by calling that office of the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330.  Also, a copy of our electronically filed materials can be obtained at www.sec.gov.  Our Principles of Corporate Governance, Committee Charters and Code of Conduct are available on our website at www.olin.com in the Governance Section under Governance Documents and Committees.
 
In May 2009, our Chief Executive Officer executed the annual Section 303A.12(a) CEO Certification required by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), certifying that he was not aware of any violation of the NYSE’s corporate governance listing standards by us.  Additionally, our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer executed the required Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) Sections 302 and 906 certifications relating to this Annual Report on Form 10-K, which are filed with the SEC as exhibits to this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
 

 
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PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND STRATEGIES

Chlor Alkali Products

Products and Services

We have been involved in the U.S. chlor alkali industry for more than 100 years and are a major participant in the North American chlor alkali market.  Chlorine, caustic soda and hydrogen are co-produced commercially by the electrolysis of salt.  These co-products are produced simultaneously, and in a fixed ratio of 1.0 ton of chlorine to 1.1 tons of caustic soda.  The industry refers to this as an Electrochemical Unit or ECU.  With a demonstrated capacity as of the end of 2009 of 1.95 million ECUs per year, including 50% of the production from our partnership with PolyOne Corporation (PolyOne), which we refer to as SunBelt, we are the third largest chlor alkali producer, measured by production volume of chlorine and caustic soda, in North America, according to data from Chemical Market Associates, Inc. (CMAI).  CMAI is a global petrochemical, plastics and fibers consulting firm established in 1979.  Approximately 55% of our caustic soda production is high purity membrane and rayon grade, which, according to CMAI data, normally commands a premium selling price in the market.  According to data from CMAI, we are the largest North American producer of industrial bleach, which is manufactured using both chlorine and caustic soda.

Our manufacturing facilities in Augusta, GA; McIntosh, AL; Charleston, TN; St. Gabriel, LA; Henderson, NV; Becancour, Quebec; and a portion of our facility in Niagara Falls, NY are ISO 9002 certified.  In addition, Augusta, GA; McIntosh, AL; Charleston, TN; and Niagara Falls, NY are ISO 14001 certified.  ISO 9000 (which includes ISO 9001 and ISO 9002) and ISO 14000 (which includes ISO 14001) are sets of related international standards on quality assurance and environmental management developed by the International Organization for Standardization to help companies effectively document the quality and environmental management system elements to be implemented to maintain effective quality and environmental management systems.  Our facilities in Augusta, GA; McIntosh, AL; Charleston, TN; Niagara Falls, NY; and St. Gabriel, LA have also achieved Star status in the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  OSHA’s VPP is a program in which companies voluntarily participate that recognizes facilities for their exemplary safety and health programs.  Our Augusta, GA; McIntosh, AL; Charleston, TN; and Niagara Falls, NY chlor alkali manufacturing sites and the division headquarters are accredited under the RC 14001 Responsible Care® (RC 14001) standard.  Supported by the chemical industry and recognized by government and regulatory agencies, RC 14001 establishes requirements for the management of safety, health, environmental, security, transportation, product stewardship, and stakeholder engagement activities for the business.

Chlorine is used as a raw material in the production of thousands of products for end-uses including vinyls, chlorinated intermediates, isocyanates, and water treatment.  A significant portion of U.S. chlorine production is consumed in the manufacture of ethylene dichloride, or EDC, a precursor for polyvinyl chloride, or PVC.  PVC is a plastic used in applications such as vinyl siding, plumbing and automotive parts.  We estimate that approximately 11% of our chlorine produced, including the production from our share of SunBelt, is consumed in the manufacture of EDC.  While much of the chlorine produced in the U.S. is consumed by the producing company to make downstream products, we sell most of the chlorine we produce to third parties in the merchant market.

Caustic soda has a wide variety of end-use applications, the largest of which is in the pulp and paper industry used in the delignification and bleaching portion of the pulping process.  Caustic soda is also used in the production of detergents and soaps, alumina and a variety of other inorganic and organic chemicals.

The chlor alkali industry is cyclical, both as a result of changes in demand for each of the co-products and as a result of the large increments in which new capacity is added and removed.  Because chlorine and caustic are produced in a fixed ratio, the supply of one product can be constrained both by the physical capacity of the production facilities and/or by the ability to sell the co-product.  Prices for both products respond rapidly to changes in supply and demand.  Our ECU netbacks (defined as gross selling price less freight and discounts) averaged approximately $520, $635 and $535 per ECU in 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively.

 
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Beginning in late 2006, driven by reduced levels of chlorine demand and a series of planned and unplanned plant maintenance outages, chlor alkali plant operating rates for the industry were reduced.  While this allowed chlorine supply to stay balanced, it caused caustic soda demand, which did not experience a decline, to exceed supply.  This led to industry-wide caustic soda price increases.  During the first three quarters of 2008, North American demand for caustic soda remained strong.  However, caustic soda supply continued to be constrained by the weakness in chlorine demand, which caused operating rates to be reduced.  This resulted in a significant supply and demand imbalance for caustic soda in North America.  This imbalance, combined with increased freight and energy costs, resulted in our achieving record levels of caustic soda pricing.  During the fourth quarter of 2008, North American caustic soda demand weakened but less than the decline in chlorine demand.  This caused the caustic soda supply and demand imbalance to continue, which continued to support record levels of caustic soda prices.  The result was a record ECU netback, in our system, in the first quarter of 2009.

Our 2009 ECU netbacks of $520 were 18% lower than the 2008 netbacks of $635, reflecting the changes in the pricing dynamics in North America.  Beginning late in the fourth quarter of 2008 and continuing through 2009, demand for caustic soda weakened significantly, and fell below the demand for chlorine.  This created excess supply in North America, which has caused caustic soda prices to fall.  The over supply of caustic soda caused industry operating rates to be constrained, which resulted in chlorine price increase announcements of $300 per ton during the second quarter of 2009.  Caustic soda prices declined precipitously in the second quarter of 2009 and these declines continued into the third quarter of 2009.  During the third quarter of 2009, chlorine and caustic soda demand became more balanced eliminating the oversupply of caustic soda.  We began realizing increases in chlorine prices in the third quarter of 2009 with most of the improvement in the fourth quarter of 2009.  We believe that ECU netbacks, in our system, have bottomed out in the third quarter of 2009.  During the fourth quarter of 2009, as caustic soda demand improved, chlorine production declined due to seasonally weaker demand.  This resulted in a supply and demand imbalance for caustic soda in North America.  As a result of this imbalance, in December 2009, a $75 per ton caustic soda price increase was announced.  We expect to begin realizing this price increase in caustic soda in the second quarter of 2010.

Electricity and salt are the major purchased raw materials for our Chlor Alkali Products segment.  Raw materials represent approximately 48% of the total cost of producing an ECU.  Electricity is the single largest raw material component in the production of chlor alkali products.  During the past five years, we experienced an increase in the cost of electricity from our suppliers due primarily to energy cost increases and regulatory requirements.  We are supplied by utilities that primarily utilize coal, hydroelectric, natural gas, and nuclear power.  The commodity nature of this industry places an added emphasis on cost management and we believe that we have managed our manufacturing costs in a manner that makes us one of the low cost producers in the industry.  During the fourth quarter of 2009, we completed a conversion and expansion project at our St. Gabriel, LA facility and initiated production.  This project increased capacity at this location from 197,000 ECUs to 246,000 ECUs and will significantly reduce the site’s manufacturing costs.   In addition, as market demand requires, we believe the design of the SunBelt plant, as well as the new design of the St. Gabriel, LA facility, will enable us to expand capacity cost-effectively at these locations.
 
We also manufacture and sell other chlor alkali-related products.  These products include chemically processed salt, hydrochloric acid, sodium hypochlorite (bleach), hydrogen, sodium hydrosulfite, and potassium hydroxide.  We have recently invested in capacity and product upgrades in bleach and hydrochloric acid.  In the fourth quarter of 2009, we initiated bleach manufacturing and shipping by railroad expansion projects at three of our chlor alkali facilities.  We are also actively developing a low salt, high strength bleach facility that will double the concentration of the bleach we manufacture, which should significantly reduce transportation costs.  During 2010, we expect to initiate a $15 million to $20 million capital project to construct a low salt, high strength bleach facility to be co-located at one of our existing chlor alkali facilities.


 
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The following table lists products of our Chlor Alkali Products business, with principal products on the basis of annual sales highlighted in bold face.
 
Products & Services
 
Major End Uses
 
Plants & Facilities
 
Major Raw Materials & Components for Products/Services
Chlorine/caustic soda
 
Pulp & paper processing, chemical manufacturing, water purification, manufacture of vinyl chloride, bleach, swimming pool chemicals & urethane chemicals
 
Augusta, GA
Becancour, Quebec
Charleston, TN
Henderson, NV
McIntosh, AL
Niagara Falls, NY
St. Gabriel, LA
 
salt, electricity
             
Sodium hypochlorite
(bleach)
 
Household cleaners, laundry bleaching, swimming pool sanitizers, semiconductors, water treatment, textiles, pulp & paper and food processing
 
Augusta, GA
Becancour, Quebec
Charleston, TN
Henderson, NV
McIntosh, AL
Niagara Falls, NY
Santa Fe Springs, CA
Tacoma, WA
Tracy, CA
 
chlorine, caustic soda
             
Hydrochloric acid
 
Steel, oil & gas, plastics, organic chemical synthesis, water and wastewater treatment, brine treatment, artificial sweeteners, pharmaceuticals, food processing and ore
and mineral processing
 
Augusta, GA
Becancour, Quebec
Charleston, TN
Henderson, NV
McIntosh, AL
Niagara Falls, NY
 
chlorine, hydrogen
             
Potassium hydroxide
 
Fertilizer manufacturing, soaps, detergents
and cleaners, battery manufacturing, food processing chemicals and deicers
 
Charleston, TN
 
potassium chloride, electricity
             
Hydrogen
 
Fuel source, hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid
 
Augusta, GA
Becancour, Quebec
Charleston, TN
Henderson, NV
McIntosh, AL
Niagara Falls, NY
St. Gabriel, LA
 
salt, electricity
             
Sodium hydrosulfite
 
Paper, textile & clay bleaching
 
Charleston, TN
 
caustic soda, sulfur dioxide
 

 
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Strategies

Continued Role as a Preferred Supplier to Merchant Market Customers.   Based on our market research, we believe our Chlor Alkali Products business is viewed as a preferred supplier by our merchant market customers.  We will continue to focus on providing quality customer service support and developing relationships with our valued customers.

Pursue Incremental Expansion Opportunities.   We have invested in capacity and product upgrades in our chemically processed salt, hydrochloric acid, bleach, potassium hydroxide and hydrogen businesses.  These expansions increase our captive use of chlorine while increasing the sales of these co-products.  These niche businesses provide opportunities to upgrade chlorine and caustic to higher value-added applications.  We also have the opportunity, when business conditions permit, to pursue incremental expansion through our SunBelt and St. Gabriel, LA facilities.

Winchester

Products and Services

Winchester is in its 143rd year of operation and its 79th year as part of Olin.  Winchester is a premier developer and manufacturer of small caliber ammunition for sale to domestic and international retailers (commercial customers), law enforcement agencies and domestic and international militaries.  We believe we are a leading U.S. producer of ammunition for recreational shooters, hunters, law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Armed Forces.  As an example of our law enforcement business, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) awarded Winchester a five-year contract in 2007 for bonded pistol ammunition and, in 2009, we received a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) contract for pistol ammunition.  Our legendary Winchester® product line includes all major gauges and calibers of shotgun shells, rimfire and centerfire ammunition for pistols and rifles, reloading components and industrial cartridges.  We believe we are the leading U.S. supplier of small caliber commercial ammunition.  In support of our continuous improvement initiatives, our manufacturing facilities in East Alton, IL, achieved ISO recertification to the ISO 9001:2008 standard in December 2009.  Additionally our facility in Australia was upgraded to the ISO 9001:2008 standard in February 2009 and our manufacturing facility in Oxford, MS achieved ISO 9001:2008 recertification in January 2010.

Winchester has strong relationships throughout the sales and distribution chain and strong ties to traditional dealers and distributors.  Winchester has also built its business with key high volume mass merchants and specialty sporting goods retailers.  We have consistently developed industry-leading ammunition.  In 2009, Winchester was named “Ammunition Manufacturer of the Year” for the second consecutive year by the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers, the carton for Winchester’s 2008 Theodore Roosevelt Commemorative Ammunition was honored with a “2009 Excellence Award” from the Paperboard Packaging Council, the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) presented Winchester with the “Gladney Davidson Memorial Award,” its most prestigious honor, and Winchester’s new web-based ballistics calculator received the 2009 SHOT Show “Editor’s Choice” award from Shooting Sports Retailer magazine.  In 2010, the Winchester® Supreme Elite™ Bonded PDX1™ product line will receive the National Rifle Association’s “Golden Bullseye Award” in the ammunition category from its Shooting Illustrated magazine and Winchester has additionally been honored with the “2010 Cabela Lifetime Business Achievement Award” from the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA).

Winchester purchases raw materials such as copper-based strip and ammunition cartridge case cups and lead from vendors based on a conversion charge or premium.  These conversion charges or premiums are in addition to the market prices for metal as posted on exchanges such as the Commodity Exchange, or COMEX, and London Metals Exchange, or LME.  Winchester’s other main raw material is propellant, which is purchased predominantly from one of the United States’ largest propellant suppliers.


 
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The following table lists products and services of our Winchester business, with principal products on the basis of annual sales highlighted in bold face.

Products & Services
 
Major End Uses
 
Plants & Facilities
 
Major Raw Materials & Components for Products/Services
Winchester® sporting ammunition (shot-shells, small caliber centerfire & rimfire ammunition)
 
Hunters & recreational shooters, law enforcement agencies
 
East Alton, IL
Oxford, MS
Geelong, Australia
 
brass, lead, steel, plastic, propellant, explosives
             
Small caliber military ammunition
 
Infantry and mounted weapons
 
East Alton, IL
Oxford, MS
 
brass, lead, propellant, explosives
             
Industrial products (8 gauge loads & powder-actuated tool loads)
 
Maintenance applications in power &
concrete industries, powder-actuated tools in construction industry
 
East Alton, IL
Oxford, MS
Geelong, Australia
 
brass, lead, plastic, propellant, explosives

Strategies

Leverage Existing Strengths.   Winchester plans to seek new opportunities to leverage the legendary Winchester brand name and will continue to offer a full line of ammunition products to the markets we serve, with specific focus on investments that lower our costs and that make Winchester ammunition the retail brand of choice.

Focus on Product Line Growth.   With a long record of pioneering new product offerings, Winchester has built a strong reputation as an industry innovator.  This includes the introduction of reduced-lead and non-lead products, which are growing in popularity for use in indoor shooting ranges and for outdoor hunting.

INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS

Our subsidiary, PCI Chemicals Canada Company/Société PCI Chimie Canada, operates one chlor alkali facility in Becancour, Quebec, which sells chlor alkali-related products within Canada and to the United States.  Our subsidiary, Winchester Australia Limited, loads and packs sporting and industrial ammunition in Australia.  See the Note “Segment Information” of the notes to consolidated financial statements in Item 8, for geographic segment data.  We are incorporating our segment information from that Note into this section of our Form 10-K.

CUSTOMERS AND DISTRIBUTION

During 2009, no single customer accounted for more than 10% of sales.  Sales to all U.S. government agencies and sales under U.S. government contracting activities in total accounted for approximately 5% of sales in 2009.  Products we sell to industrial or commercial users or distributors for use in the production of other products constitute a major part of our total sales.  We sell some of our products, such as caustic soda and sporting ammunition, to a large number of users or distributors, while we sell others, such as chlorine, in substantial quantities to a relatively small number of industrial users.  We discuss the customers for each of our two businesses in more detail above under “Products and Services.”

We market most of our products and services primarily through our sales force and sell directly to various industrial customers, wholesalers, other distributors, and the U.S. Government and its prime contractors.


 
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Because we engage in some government contracting activities and make sales to the U.S. Government, we are subject to extensive and complex U.S. Government procurement laws and regulations.  These laws and regulations provide for ongoing government audits and reviews of contract procurement, performance and administration.  Failure to comply, even inadvertently, with these laws and regulations and with laws governing the export of munitions and other controlled products and commodities could subject us or one or more of our businesses to civil and criminal penalties, and under certain circumstances, suspension and debarment from future government contracts and the exporting of products for a specified period of time.

BACKLOG

The total amount of contracted backlog was approximately $231.2 million and $228.8 million as of January 31, 2010 and 2009, respectively.  The backlog orders are in our Winchester business.  Backlog is comprised of all open customer orders not yet shipped.  Approximately 70% of contracted backlog as of January 31, 2010 is expected to be filled during 2010.

COMPETITION

We are in active competition with businesses producing the same or similar products, as well as, in some instances, with businesses producing different products designed for the same uses.

Chlor alkali manufacturers in North America, with approximately 15.2 million tons of chlorine and 16.2 million tons of caustic soda capacity, account for approximately 20% of worldwide chlor alkali production capacity.  According to CMAI,  the Dow Chemical Company (Dow), and the Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem), are the two largest chlor alkali producers in North America.  Approximately 75% of the total North American capacity is located in the U.S. Gulf Coast region.

Many of our competitors are integrated producers of chlorine, using some, or all, of their chlorine production in the manufacture of other downstream products.  In contrast, we are primarily a merchant producer of chlorine and sell the majority of our chlorine to merchant customers.  We do utilize chlorine to manufacture industrial bleach and hydrochloric acid.  As a result, we supply a greater share of the merchant chlorine market than our share of overall industry capacity.  There is a worldwide market for caustic soda, which attracts imports and allows exports depending on market conditions.  All of our competitors sell caustic soda into the North American merchant market.

The chlor alkali industry in North America is highly competitive, and many of our competitors, including Dow and OxyChem, are substantially larger and have greater financial resources than we do.  While the technologies to manufacture and transport chlorine and caustic soda are widely available, the production facilities require large capital investments, and are subject to significant regulatory and permitting requirements.

We are among the largest manufacturers in the United States of commercial small caliber ammunition based on independent market research sponsored by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.  Founded in 1926, SAAMI is an association of the nation’s leading manufacturers of sporting firearms, ammunition and components.  According to SAAMI, our Winchester business, Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) and Remington Arms Company, Inc. (Remington) are the three largest commercial ammunition manufacturers in the United States.  The ammunition industry is highly competitive with us, ATK, Remington, numerous smaller domestic manufacturers and foreign producers competing for sales to the commercial ammunition customers.  Many factors influence our ability to compete successfully, including price, delivery, service, performance, product innovation and product recognition and quality, depending on the product involved.

 
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EMPLOYEES

As of December 31, 2009, we had approximately 3,700 employees, with 3,500 working in the United States and 200 working in foreign countries, primarily Canada.  Various labor unions represent a majority of our hourly-paid employees for collective bargaining purposes.

The following labor contract is scheduled to expire in 2010:

Location
 
Number of Employees
 
Expiration Date
Henderson, NV (Chlor Alkali)
 
70
 
March 2010

While we believe our relations with our employees and their various representatives are generally satisfactory, we cannot assure that we can conclude this labor contract or any other labor agreements without work stoppages and cannot assure that any work stoppages will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations.

RESEARCH ACTIVITIES; PATENTS

Our research activities are conducted on a product-group basis at a number of facilities.  Company-sponsored research expenditures were $2.2 million in 2009 and $2.0 million in 2008 and 2007.

We own or license a number of patents, patent applications, and trade secrets covering our products and processes.  We believe that, in the aggregate, the rights under our patents and licenses are important to our operations, but we do not consider any individual patent or license or group of patents and licenses related to a specific process or product to be of material importance to our total business.

RAW MATERIALS AND ENERGY

We purchase the major portion of our raw material requirements.  The principal basic raw materials for our production of chlor alkali products are salt, electricity, potassium chloride, sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen.  A portion of the salt used in our Chlor Alkali Products segment is produced from internal resources.  Lead, brass, and propellant are the principal raw materials used in the Winchester business.  We typically purchase our electricity, salt, potassium chloride, sulfur dioxide, ammunition cartridge case cups and copper-based strip, and propellants pursuant to multi-year contracts.  We provide additional information with respect to specific raw materials in the tables set forth under “Products and Services.”

Electricity is the predominant energy source for our manufacturing facilities.  Most of our facilities are served by utilities which generate electricity principally from coal, hydroelectric and nuclear power except at St. Gabriel, LA and Henderson, NV which predominantly use natural gas.


 
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ENVIRONMENTAL AND TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROLS

In the United States, the establishment and implementation of federal, state and local standards to regulate air, water and land quality affect substantially all of our manufacturing locations.  Federal legislation providing for regulation of the manufacture, transportation, use and disposal of hazardous and toxic substances, and remediation of contaminated sites has imposed additional regulatory requirements on industry, particularly the chemicals industry.  In addition, implementation of environmental laws, such as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Clean Air Act, has required and will continue to require new capital expenditures and will increase operating costs.  Our Canadian facility is governed by federal environmental laws administered by Environment Canada and by provincial environmental laws enforced by administrative agencies.  Many of these laws are comparable to the U.S. laws described above.  We employ waste minimization and pollution prevention programs at our manufacturing sites and we are a party to various governmental and private environmental actions associated with former waste disposal sites and past manufacturing facilities.  Charges or credits to income for investigatory and remedial efforts were material to operating results in the past three years and may be material to operating results in future years.

See our discussion of our environmental matters in Item 3, “Legal Proceedings” below, the Note “Environmental” of the notes to consolidated financial statements contained in Item 8, and Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

Item 1A.  RISK FACTORS

In addition to the other information in this Form 10-K, the following factors should be considered in evaluating Olin and our business.  All of our forward-looking statements should be considered in light of these factors.  Additional risks and uncertainties that we are unaware of or that we currently deem immaterial also may become important factors that affect us.

Sensitivity to Global Economic Conditions and Cyclicality—Our operating results could be negatively affected during economic downturns.

The business of most of our customers, particularly our vinyl, urethanes, and pulp and paper customers are, to varying degrees, cyclical and have historically experienced periodic downturns.  These economic and industry downturns have been characterized by diminished product demand, excess manufacturing capacity and, in some cases, lower average selling prices.  Therefore, any significant downturn in our customers’ businesses or in global economic conditions could result in a reduction in demand for our products and could adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition.

Although we do not generally sell a large percentage of our products directly to customers abroad, a large part of our financial performance is dependent upon a healthy economy beyond North America.  Our customers sell their products abroad.  As a result, our business is affected by general economic conditions and other factors in Western Europe and most of East Asia, particularly China and Japan, including fluctuations in interest rates, customer demand, labor costs, currency changes, and other factors beyond our control.  The demand for our customers’ products, and therefore, our products, is directly affected by such fluctuations.  In addition, our customers could decide to move some or all of their production to lower cost, offshore locations, and this could reduce demand in North America for our products.  We cannot assure you that events having an adverse effect on the industries in which we operate will not occur or continue, such as a downturn in the Western European, Asian or world economies, increases in interest rates, or unfavorable currency fluctuations.  Economic conditions in other regions of the world, predominantly Asia and Europe, can increase the amount of caustic soda produced and available for export to North America.  The increased caustic soda supply can put downward pressure on our caustic soda prices, negatively impacting our profitability.


 
10

 

Cyclical Pricing Pressure—Our profitability could be reduced by declines in average selling prices of our products, particularly declines in the ECU netback for chlorine and caustic.

Our historical operating results reflect the cyclical and sometimes volatile nature of the chemical and ammunition industries.  We experience cycles of fluctuating supply and demand in each of our business segments, particularly in Chlor Alkali Products, which result in changes in selling prices.  Periods of high demand, tight supply and increasing operating margins tend to result in increases in capacity and production until supply exceeds demand, generally followed by periods of oversupply and declining prices.  The significant North American chlor alkali capacity (over 100,000 annual ECU’s) which became operational during 2009 was at the Shintech, Inc. facility in Plaquemine, LA.  In North America, because Shintech consumes the chlorine it produces, this expansion may result in more caustic soda supply in the market.  Dow announced the permanent closure in 2009 of a portion of their Oyster Creek (Freeport), TX facility.  Another factor influencing demand and pricing for chlorine and caustic soda is the price of natural gas.  Higher natural gas prices increase our customers’ and competitors’ manufacturing costs, and depending on the ratio of crude oil to gas prices, could make them less competitive in world markets.  Continued expansion offshore, particularly in Asia, will continue to have an impact on the ECU values as imported caustic soda replaces some capacity in the U.S.

Price in the chlor alkali industry is the major supplier selection criterion.  We have little or no ability to influence prices in this large commodity market.  Decreases in the average selling prices of our products could have a material adverse effect on our profitability.  For example, assuming all other costs remain constant and internal consumption remains approximately the same, a $10 per ECU selling price change equates to an approximate $17 million annual change in our revenues and pretax profit when we are operating at full capacity.  While we strive to maintain or increase our profitability by reducing costs through improving production efficiency, emphasizing higher margin products, and by controlling transportation, selling, and administration expenses, we cannot assure you that these efforts will be sufficient to offset fully the effect of decreases in pricing on operating results.

Because of the cyclical nature of our businesses, we cannot assure you that pricing or profitability in the future will be comparable to any particular historical period, including the most recent period shown in our operating results.  We cannot assure you that the chlor alkali industry will not experience adverse trends in the future, or that our operating results and/or financial condition will not be adversely affected by them.

Our Winchester segment is also subject to changes in operating results as a result of cyclical pricing pressures, but to a lesser extent than the Chlor Alkali Products segment.  Selling prices of ammunition are affected by changes in raw material costs and availability and customer demand, and declines in average selling prices of our Winchester segment could adversely affect our profitability.

Imbalance in Demand for Our Chlor Alkali Products—A loss of a substantial customer for our chlorine or caustic soda could cause an imbalance in demand for these products, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

Chlorine and caustic soda are produced simultaneously and in a fixed ratio of 1.0 ton of chlorine to 1.1 tons of caustic soda.  The loss of a substantial chlorine or caustic soda customer could cause an imbalance in demand for our chlorine and caustic soda products.  An imbalance in demand may require us to reduce production of both chlorine and caustic soda or take other steps to correct the imbalance.  Since we cannot store chlorine, we may not be able to respond to an imbalance in demand for these products as quickly or efficiently as some of our competitors.  If a substantial imbalance occurred, we would need to reduce prices or take other actions that could have a negative impact on our results of operations and financial condition.


 
11

 

Environmental Costs—We have ongoing environmental costs, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.

The nature of our operations and products, including the raw materials we handle, exposes us to the risk of liabilities or claims with respect to environmental matters.  In addition, we are party to various governmental and private environmental actions associated with past manufacturing facilities and former waste disposal sites.  We have incurred, and expect to incur, significant costs and capital expenditures in complying with environmental laws and regulations.

The ultimate costs and timing of environmental liabilities are difficult to predict.  Liabilities under environmental laws relating to contaminated sites can be imposed retroactively and on a joint and several basis.  One liable party could be held responsible for all costs at a site, regardless of fault, percentage of contribution to the site or the legality of the original disposal.  We could incur significant costs, including cleanup costs, natural resources damages, civil or criminal fines and sanctions and third-party lawsuits claiming, for example, personal injury and/or property damage, as a result of past or future violations of, or liabilities under, environmental or other laws.

In addition, future events, such as changes to or more rigorous enforcement of environmental laws, could require us to make additional expenditures, modify or curtail our operations and/or install pollution control equipment.

Accordingly, it is possible that some of the matters in which we are involved or may become involved may be resolved unfavorably to us, which could materially adversely affect our financial position or results of operations.  See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations-Environmental Matters.”

Effects of Regulation—Changes in legislation or government regulations or policies, including tax policies, could have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.

Legislation that may be passed by Congress or other legislative bodies or new regulations that may be issued by federal and other administrative agencies could significantly affect the sales, costs and profitability of our business.  The chemical and ammunition industries are subject to legislative and regulatory actions, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.

During the second and third quarters of 2009, a bill was introduced in the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively, which, if enacted, would ban the production of chlor alkali products using mercury cell technology two years from the date it is enacted into law.  On October 21, 2009, the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce passed a bill that would require chlor alkali producers using mercury cell technology to make a decision by June 30, 2012 as to whether to shutdown or convert these facilities.  If the decision is to convert, the mercury cell plants would be required to be converted by June 30, 2015.  If the decision is not to convert, the plants would be required to be shutdown by June 30, 2013.  For this bill to become law it must be passed by the full House of Representatives and the full Senate.  No additional action has been taken on this bill since October in the House of Representatives and no action has yet been taken by the Senate on its bill.  We currently operate two facilities which utilize mercury cell technology totaling approximately 350,000 ECUs of capacity (approximately 18% of our capacity).  We are closely monitoring the progress of these bills, but it is too soon to estimate the likelihood of enactment, and therefore to determine what impact there will be on us and the chlor alkali industry.  We operate our mercury cell facilities in full compliance with all environmental rules and regulations.

Litigation and Claims—We are subject to litigation and other claims, which could cause us to incur significant expenses.

We are a defendant in a number of pending legal proceedings relating to our present and former operations.  These include proceedings alleging injurious exposure of plaintiffs to various chemicals and other substances (including proceedings based on alleged exposures to asbestos).  Frequently, such proceedings involve claims made by numerous plaintiffs against many defendants.  However, because of the inherent uncertainties of litigation, we are unable to predict the outcome of these proceedings and therefore cannot determine whether the financial impact, if any, will be material to our financial position or results of operations.
 
12

 

Security and Chemicals Transportation—New regulations on the transportation of hazardous chemicals and/or the security of chemical manufacturing facilities and public policy changes related to transportation safety could result in significantly higher operating costs.

The chemical industry, including the chlor alkali industry, has proactively responded to the issues related to national security and environmental concerns by starting new initiatives relating to the security of chemicals industry facilities and the transportation of hazardous chemicals in the United States.  Government at the local, state, and federal levels also has begun regulatory processes which could lead to new regulations that would impact the security of chemical plant locations and the transportation of hazardous chemicals.  Our Chlor Alkali business could be adversely impacted by the cost of complying with any new regulations.  Our business also could be adversely affected because of an incident at one of our facilities or while transporting product.  The extent of the impact would depend on the requirements of future regulations and the nature of an incident, which are unknown at this time.

Production Hazards—Our facilities are subject to operating hazards, which may disrupt our business.

We are dependent upon the continued safe operation of our production facilities.  Our production facilities are subject to hazards associated with the manufacture, handling, storage and transportation of chemical materials and products and ammunition, including leaks and ruptures, explosions, fires, inclement weather and natural disasters, unexpected utility disruptions or outages, unscheduled downtime and environmental hazards.  From time to time in the past, we have had incidents that have temporarily shut down or otherwise disrupted our manufacturing, causing production delays and resulting in liability for workplace injuries and fatalities.  Some of our products involve the manufacture and/or handling of a variety of explosive and flammable materials.  Use of these products by our customers could also result in liability if an explosion, fire, spill or other accident were to occur.  We cannot assure you that we will not experience these types of incidents in the future or that these incidents will not result in production delays or otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Cost Control—Our profitability could be reduced if we continue to experience increasing raw material, utility, transportation or logistics costs, or if we fail to achieve our targeted cost reductions.

Our operating results and profitability are dependent upon our continued ability to control, and in some cases further reduce, our costs.  If we are unable to do so, or if costs outside of our control, particularly our costs of raw materials, utilities, transportation and similar costs, increase beyond anticipated levels, our profitability will decline.

Credit Facilities—Weak industry conditions could affect our ability to comply with the financial maintenance covenants in our senior revolving credit facility and our Accounts Receivable Facility.

Our senior revolving credit facility and our Accounts Receivable Facility include certain financial maintenance covenants requiring us to not exceed a maximum leverage ratio and to maintain a minimum coverage ratio.  Depending on the magnitude and duration of chlor alkali cyclical downturns, including deterioration in prices and volumes, there can be no assurance that we will continue to be in compliance with these ratios.  If we failed to comply with either of these covenants in a future period and were not able to obtain waivers from the lenders thereunder, we would need to refinance our current senior revolving credit facility and Accounts Receivable Facility.  However, there can be no assurance that such refinancing would be available to us on terms that would be acceptable to us or at all.

Pension Plans—The impact of declines in global equity and fixed income markets on asset values and any declines in interest rates used to value the liabilities in our pension plan may result in higher pension costs and the need to fund the pension plan in future years in material amounts.

In May 2007 and September 2006, we made voluntary pension plan contributions of $100.0 million and $80.0 million, respectively.
 
13

 

Under Accounting Standard Codification (ASC) 715 “Compensation–Retirement Benefits” (ASC 715), formerly Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) No. 158, “Employers’ Accounting for Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Plans,” (SFAS No. 158), we recorded an after-tax charge of $27.3 million ($41.7 million pretax) to shareholders’ equity as of December 31, 2009 for our pension and other postretirement plans.  This charge reflected a 50-basis point decrease in the plans discount rate, partially offset by the favorable performance on plan assets during 2009.  In 2008, we recorded an after-tax charge of $99.4 million ($162.7 million pretax) to shareholders’ equity as of December 31, 2008 for our pension and other postretirement plans.  This charge reflected the unfavorable performance on plan assets during 2008.  In 2007, we recorded a $138.3 million after-tax credit ($226.6 million pretax) to shareholders’ equity as of December 31, 2007 for our pension and other postretirement plans.  This credit reflected a 25-basis point increase in the plans’ discount rate, combined with an increase in the value of the plan assets from favorable plan performance and the $100.0 million contribution.  The non-cash charges or credits to shareholders’ equity do not affect our ability to borrow under our senior revolving credit agreement.

During 2007, the asset allocation in the plan was adjusted to attempt to insulate the plan from discount rate risk and reduce the plan’s exposure to equity investments.  Effective January 1, 2005, our defined benefit pension plan was closed to new salaried and certain non-bargained hourly employees.  Subsequently, as new collective bargaining agreements were negotiated, by January 1, 2009, our defined benefit pension plan was closed to all our new union-represented employees.  Effective January 1, 2008, we froze our defined benefit pension plan for salaried and certain non-bargained hourly workers and these employees began to participate in a defined contribution pension plan.  In 2010, we expect pension income associated with the defined benefit pension plan to be similar compared to 2009.

The determinations of pension expense and pension funding are based on a variety of rules and regulations.  Changes in these rules and regulations could impact the calculation of pension plan liabilities and the valuation of pension plan assets.  They may also result in higher pension costs, additional financial statement disclosure, and accelerate the need to fully fund the pension plan.  During the third quarter of 2006, the “Pension Protection Act of 2006” became law, amended by “The Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act,” during the fourth quarter of 2008.  Among the stated objectives of the laws were the protection of both pension beneficiaries and the financial health of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).  To accomplish these objectives, the new laws required sponsors to fund defined benefit pension plans earlier than previous requirements and to pay increased PBGC premiums.  Based on the combination of the asset allocation adjustment, the favorable asset performance in 2006, 2007 and 2009, the $100.0 million and $80.0 million voluntary contributions, and the benefits from the plan freeze, offset by the unfavorable performance on plan assets in 2008, we will not be required to make any cash contributions to the domestic defined benefit pension plan at least through 2010.  We do have a small Canadian defined benefit pension plan to which we made $4.5 million of contributions in 2009 and we anticipate approximately $4 million of contributions in 2010.  At December 31, 2009, the market value of assets in our defined benefit pension plans of $1,722.0 million exceeded the projected benefit obligation by $5.0 million.

In addition, the impact of declines in global equity and fixed income markets on asset values may result in higher pension costs and may increase and accelerate the need to fund the pension plan in future years.  For example, holding all other assumptions constant, a 100-basis point decrease or increase in the assumed rate of return on plan assets would have decreased or increased, respectively, the 2009 defined benefit pension plan income by approximately $15.6 million.

Holding all other assumptions constant, a 50-basis point decrease in the discount rate used to calculate pension income for 2009 and the projected benefit obligation as of December 31, 2009 would have decreased pension income by $1.4 million and increased the projected benefit obligation by $82.0 million.  A 50-basis point increase in the discount rate used to calculate pension income for 2009 and the projected benefit obligation as of December 31, 2009 would have increased pension income by $2.7 million and decreased the projected benefit obligation by $83.0 million.
 
14

 

Indebtedness—Our indebtedness could adversely affect our financial condition and limit our ability to grow and compete, which could prevent us from fulfilling our obligations under our indebtedness.

As of December 31, 2009, we had $398.4 million of indebtedness outstanding, including $1.4 million representing the fair value related to $26.6 million of interest rate swaps and $5.5 million representing the unrecognized gain related to $75 million of interest rate swaps  at December 31, 2009.  This outstanding indebtedness excludes our guarantee of $48.8 million of indebtedness of SunBelt.  This does not include our $240.0 million senior revolving credit facility of which we had $219.6 million available on that date because we had issued $20.4 million of letters of credit or our $75 million accounts receivable securitization facility (Accounts Receivable Facility).  As of December 31, 2009, our indebtedness represented 32.6% of our total capitalization.  At December 31, 2009, none of our indebtedness was due within one year.

Our indebtedness could adversely affect our financial condition and limit our ability to fund working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes, to accommodate growth by reducing funds otherwise available for other corporate purposes, and to compete, which in turn could prevent us from fulfilling our obligations under our indebtedness.  In addition, our indebtedness could make us more vulnerable to any continuing downturn in general economic conditions and reduce our ability to respond to changing business and economic conditions.  Despite our level of indebtedness, the terms of our senior revolving credit facility, our Accounts Receivable Facility, and our existing indentures permit us to borrow additional money.  If we borrow more money, the risks related to our indebtedness could increase.

Debt Service—We may not be able to generate sufficient cash to service our debt, which may require us to refinance our indebtedness or default on our scheduled debt payments.

Our ability to generate sufficient cash flow from operations to make scheduled payments on our debt depends on a range of economic, competitive and business factors, many of which are outside our control.  We cannot assure you that our business will generate sufficient cash flow from operations.  If we are unable to meet our expenses and debt obligations, we may need to refinance all or a portion of our indebtedness on or before maturity, sell assets or raise equity.  We cannot assure you that we would be able to refinance any of our indebtedness, sell assets or raise equity on commercially reasonable terms or at all, which could cause us to default on our obligations and impair our liquidity.  Our inability to generate sufficient cash flow to satisfy our debt obligations, or to refinance our obligations on commercially reasonable terms, would have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, as well as on our ability to satisfy our debt obligations.  See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”  See Item 7A—“Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk” and “Liquidity and Other Financing Arrangements.”

Credit and Capital Market Conditions—Adverse conditions in the credit and capital markets may limit or prevent our ability to borrow or raise capital.

While we believe we have facilities in place that should allow us to borrow funds as needed, adverse conditions in the credit and financial markets could prevent us from obtaining financing, if the need arises.  Our ability to invest in our businesses and refinance maturing debt obligations could require access to the credit and capital markets and sufficient bank credit lines to support cash requirements.  If we are unable to access the credit and capital markets, we could experience a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.

15

Labor Matters—We cannot assure you that we can conclude future labor contracts or any other labor agreements without work stoppages.

Various labor unions represent a majority of our hourly-paid employees for collective bargaining purposes.  The following labor contract is scheduled to expire in 2010:

Location
 
Number of Employees
 
Expiration Date
Henderson, NV (Chlor Alkali)
 
70
 
March 2010

While we believe our relations with our employees and their various representatives are generally satisfactory, we cannot assure that we can conclude this labor contract or any other labor agreements without work stoppages and cannot assure that any work stoppages will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations.

Item 1B.  UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

Not applicable.

Item 2.  PROPERTIES

We have manufacturing sites at 13 separate locations in ten states, Canada and Australia.  Most manufacturing sites are owned although a number of small sites are leased.  We listed the locations at or from which our products and services are manufactured, distributed, or marketed in the tables set forth under the caption “Products and Services.”

We lease warehouses, terminals and distribution offices and space for executive and branch sales offices and service departments.

Item 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

Saltville

We have completed all work in connection with remediation of mercury contamination at the site of our former mercury cell chlor alkali plant in Saltville, VA required to date.  In mid-2003, the Trustees for natural resources in the North Fork Holston River, the Main Stem Holston River, and associated floodplains, located in Smyth and Washington Counties in Virginia and in Sullivan and Hawkins Counties in Tennessee notified us of, and invited our participation in, an assessment of alleged damages to natural resources resulting from the release of mercury.  The Trustees also notified us that they have made a preliminary determination that we are potentially liable for natural resource damages in said rivers and floodplains.  We have agreed to participate in the assessment.  We and the Trustees have agreed to enter into discussions concerning a resolution of this matter.  In light of the ongoing discussions and inherent uncertainties of the assessment, we cannot at this time determine whether the financial impact, if any, of this matter will be material to our financial position or results of operations.  See “Environmental Matters” contained in Item 7—“Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

St. Gabriel, LA Mercury Vapor Emissions Release

Our subsidiary, Pioneer, discovered in October 2004 that the carbon-based system used to remove mercury from the hydrogen gas stream at the St. Gabriel, LA facility was not at that time sufficiently effective, resulting in mercury vapor emissions that were above the permit limits approved by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ).  Pioneer immediately reduced the plant’s operating rate and, in late November 2004, completed the installation of the necessary equipment and made the other needed changes, and the plant resumed its normal operations.  Pioneer’s emissions monitoring since that time confirmed that the air emissions are below the permit limits.  In January 2005, the LDEQ issued a violation notice to Pioneer as a result of this mercury vapor emissions release.  In December 2005, the LDEQ issued a penalty assessment of $0.4 million with respect to the notice of violation.  Pioneer has administratively appealed the penalty assessment.  Given the facts and circumstances, Pioneer requested that the LDEQ reconsider the penalty assessment.

16

Other

As part of the continuing environmental investigation by federal, state, and local governments of waste disposal sites, we have entered into a number of settlement agreements requiring us to participate in the investigation and cleanup of a number of sites.  Under the terms of such settlements and related agreements, we may be required to manage or perform one or more elements of a site cleanup, or to manage the entire remediation activity for a number of parties, and subsequently seek recovery of some or all of such costs from other Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs).  In many cases, we do not know the ultimate costs of our settlement obligations at the time of entering into particular settlement agreements, and our liability accruals for our obligations under those agreements are often subject to significant management judgment on an ongoing basis.  Those cost accruals are provided for in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and our accounting policies set forth in the environmental matters section in Item 7—“Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

We, and our subsidiaries, are defendants in various other legal actions (including proceedings based on alleged exposures to asbestos) incidental to our past and current business activities.  While we believe that none of these legal actions will materially adversely affect our financial position, in light of the inherent uncertainties of litigation, we cannot at this time determine whether the financial impact, if any, of these matters will be material to our results of operations.

Item 4. SUBMISSION OF MATTERS TO A VOTE OF SECURITY HOLDERS

We did not submit any matter to a vote of security holders during the three months ended December 31, 2009.

Executive Officers of the Registrant as of February 24, 2010

Name and Age
 
Office
 
Served as an Olin Officer Since
Joseph D. Rupp (59)
 
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
 
1996
Stephen C. Curley (58)
 
Vice President and Treasurer
 
2005
Dolores J. Ennico (57)
 
Vice President, Human Resources
 
2009
John E. Fischer (54)
 
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
 
2004
G. Bruce Greer, Jr. (49)
 
Vice President, Strategic Planning
 
2005
Richard M. Hammett (63)
 
Vice President and President, Winchester Division
 
2005
John L. McIntosh (55)
 
Vice President and President, Chlor Alkali Products Division
 
1999
George H. Pain (59)
 
Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
 
2002
Todd A. Slater (46)
 
Vice President and Controller
 
2005

No family relationship exists between any of the above named executive officers or between any of them and any of our directors.  Such officers were elected to serve, subject to the By-laws, until their respective successors are chosen.

S. C. Curley, J. E. Fischer, R. M. Hammett, J. D. Rupp, J. L. McIntosh, and G. H. Pain have served as executive officers more than five years.

Dolores J. Ennico was elected Vice President, Human Resources effective May 1, 2009.  Prior to that time and since October 2005, she served as Corporate Vice President, Human Resources.  From March 2004 to September 2005, she served as Vice President, Administration for Olin's Winchester Division and former Metals group.

G. Bruce Greer, Jr. joined Olin on May 2, 2005 as Vice President, Strategic Planning.  Prior to joining Olin and since 1997, Mr. Greer was employed by Solutia, Inc., an applied chemicals company.  From 2003 to April 2005, he served as President of Pharma Services, a Division of Solutia and Chairman of Flexsys, an international rubber chemicals company which was a joint venture partially owned by Solutia and Akzo Nobel.  Prior to that, Mr. Greer served as a Vice President of Corporate Development, Technology, and Information Technology for Solutia.

Todd A. Slater was elected Vice President and Controller, effective May 27, 2005.  From April 2004 until May 2005, he served as Operations Controller.  From January 2003 until April 2004, he served as Vice President and Financial Officer for Olin’s former Metals Group.  Prior to 2003, Mr. Slater served as Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary for Chase Industries Inc. (which was merged into Olin on September 27, 2002 and divested as part of the sale of the Metals business in November 2007).

 
17

 

PART II

Item 5.  MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

As of January 29, 2010, we had 4,889 record holders of our common stock.

Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The high and low sales prices of our common stock during each quarterly period in 2009 and 2008 are listed below.  A dividend of $0.20 per common share was paid during each of the four quarters in 2009 and 2008.

2009
 
First
Quarter
   
Second
Quarter
   
Third
Quarter
   
Fourth
Quarter
 
Market price of common stock per New York Stock Exchange composite transactions
                               
High
 
$
19.79
   
$
16.70
   
$
18.40
   
$
18.03
 
Low
   
8.97
     
10.64
     
10.97
     
15.00
 
                                 
2008
                       
Market price of common stock per New York Stock Exchange composite transactions
                       
High
 
$
21.93
   
$
27.95
   
$
30.39
   
$
19.39
 
Low
   
15.01
     
19.65
     
18.52
     
12.52
 

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Period
Total Number of Shares
(or Units) Purchased
 
Average Price
 Paid
 per Share (or Unit)
 
Total Number of Shares
(or Units) Purchased as
Part of Publicly
Announced Plans or
Programs
 
Maximum Number of
Shares (or Units) that
May Yet Be Purchased
Under the Plans or
Programs
 
October 1-31, 2009
 
N/A
 
     
November 1-30, 2009
 
N/A
 
     
December 1-31, 2009
 
N/A
 
     
Total
           
154,076
(1)

(1)
On April 30, 1998, we announced a share repurchase program approved by our board of directors for the purchase of up to 5 million shares of common stock.  Through December 31, 2009, 4,845,924 shares had been repurchased, and 154,076 shares remain available for purchase under that program, which has no termination date.


 
18

 

Performance Graph

This graph compares the total shareholder return on our common stock with the total return on the (i) Standard and Poor’s 1000 Index (the “S&P 1000”) and (ii)  the Peer Group.  Our Peer Group is comprised of Georgia Gulf Corporation, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Alliant Techsystems, PPG Industries, Inc., The Dow Chemical Company and Westlake Chemical Corporation.


Stock Performance Graph
Data is for the five-year period from December 31, 2004 through December 31, 2009. The cumulative return includes reinvestment of dividends. The Peer Group is weighted in accordance with market capitalization (closing stock price multiplied by the number of shares outstanding) as of the beginning of each of the five years covered by the performance graph. We calculated the weighted return for each year by multiplying (a) the percentage that each corporation’s market capitalization represented of the total market capitalization for all corporations in the Peer Group for such year by (b) the total shareholder return for that corporation for such year.


 
19

 

Item 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
 
TEN-YEAR SUMMARY
 
($ and shares in millions, except per share data)
 
2009
   
2008
   
2007
   
2006
   
2005
   
2004
   
2003
   
2002
   
2001
   
2000
 
Operations
                                                           
Sales
 
$
1,532
   
$
1,765
   
$
1,277
   
$
1,040
   
$
955
   
$
766
   
$
703
   
$
604
   
$
653
   
$
669
 
Cost of goods sold
   
1,223
     
1,377
     
1,035
     
792
     
682
     
639
     
588
     
551
     
558
     
544
 
Selling and administration
   
135
     
137
     
129
     
129
     
128
     
90
     
78
     
70
     
74
     
78
 
Loss on restructuring of businesses
   
     
     
     
     
     
(10
)
   
     
     
(10
)
   
 
Other operating income
   
9
     
1
     
2
     
7
     
9
     
6
     
     
     
     
 
Earnings (loss) of non-consolidated affiliates
   
38
     
39
     
46
     
45
     
37
     
9
     
6
     
(8
)
   
(9
)
   
 
Interest expense
   
12
     
13
     
22
     
20
     
20
     
20
     
20
     
26
     
17
     
16
 
Interest and other income (expense)
   
1
     
(20
)
   
12
     
12
     
20
     
5
     
3
     
4
     
22
     
5
 
Income (loss) before taxes from continuing operations
   
210
     
258
     
151
     
163
     
191
     
27
     
26
     
(47
)
   
7
     
36
 
Income tax provision (benefit)
   
74
     
100
     
50
     
39
     
74
     
8
     
8
     
(4
)
   
2
     
14
 
Income (loss) from continuing operations
   
136
     
158
     
101
     
124
     
117
     
19
     
18
     
(43
)
   
5
     
22
 
Discontinued operations, net
   
     
     
(110
)
   
26
     
21
     
36
     
(20
)
   
12
     
(14
)
   
59
 
Cumulative effect of accounting changes, net
   
     
     
     
     
(5
)
   
     
(22
)
   
     
     
 
Net income (loss)
 
$
136
   
$
158
   
$
(9
)
 
$
150
   
$
133
   
$
55
   
$
(24
)
 
$
(31
)
 
$
(9
)
 
$
81
 
Financial position
                                                                               
Cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments
 
$
459
   
$
247
   
$
333
   
$
276
   
$
304
   
$
147
   
$
190
   
$
136
   
$
202
   
$
82
 
Working capital, excluding cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments
   
91
     
24
     
(14
)
   
223
     
191
     
232
     
168
     
233
     
67
     
159
 
Property, plant and equipment, net
   
695
     
630
     
504
     
251
     
227
     
205
     
202
     
214
     
253
     
281
 
Total assets
   
1,932
     
1,720
     
1,731
     
1,642
     
1,802
     
1,621
     
1,448
     
1,426
     
1,221
     
1,125
 
Capitalization:
                                                                               
Short-term debt
   
     
     
10
     
2
     
1
     
52
     
27
     
2
     
102
     
1
 
Long-term debt
   
398
     
252
     
249
     
252
     
257
     
261
     
314
     
346
     
330
     
228
 
Shareholders’ equity
   
822
     
705
     
664
     
543
     
427
     
356
     
176
     
231
     
271
     
329
 
Total capitalization
 
$
1,220
   
$
957
   
$
923
   
$
797
   
$
685
   
$
669
   
$
517
   
$
579
   
$
703
   
$
558
 
Per share data
                                                                               
Net income (loss)
                                                                               
Basic:
                                                                               
Continuing operations
 
$
1.74
   
$
2.08
   
$
1.36
   
$
1.70
   
$
1.65
   
$
0.27
   
$
0.30
   
$
(0.87
)
 
$
0.10
   
$
0.49
 
Discontinued operations, net
   
     
     
(1.48
)
   
0.36
     
0.30
     
0.53
     
(0.34
)
   
0.24
     
(0.32
)
   
1.31
 
Accounting changes, net
   
     
     
     
     
(0.08
)
   
     
(0.38
)
   
     
     
 
Net income (loss)
 
$
1.74
   
$
2.08
   
$
(0.12
)
 
$
2.06
   
$
1.87
   
$
0.80
   
$
(0.42
)
 
$
(0.63
)
 
$
(0.22
)
 
$
1.80
 
Diluted:
                                                                               
Continuing operations
 
$
1.73
   
$
2.07
   
$
1.36
   
$
1.70
   
$
1.65
   
$
0.27
   
$
0.30
   
$
(0.87
)
 
$
0.10
   
$
0.49
 
Discontinued operations, net
   
     
     
(1.48
)
   
0.36
     
0.29
     
0.53
     
(0.34
)
   
0.24
     
(0.32
)
   
1.31
 
Accounting changes, net
   
     
     
     
     
(0.08
)
   
     
(0.38
)
   
     
     
 
Net income (loss)
 
$
1.73
   
$
2.07
   
$
(0.12
)
 
$
2.06
   
$
1.86
   
$
0.80
   
$
(0.42
)
 
$
(0.63
)
 
$
(0.22
)
 
$
1.80
 
                                                                                 
Common Cash Dividends
   
0.80
     
0.80
     
0.80
     
0.80
     
0.80
     
0.80
     
0.80
     
0.80
     
0.80
     
0.80
 
Market price of common stock:
                                                                               
High
   
19.79
     
30.39
     
24.53
     
22.65
     
25.35
     
22.99
     
20.53
     
22.60
     
22.75
     
23.19
 
Low
   
8.97
     
12.52
     
15.97
     
14.22
     
16.65
     
15.20
     
14.97
     
13.85
     
12.05
     
14.19
 
Year end
   
17.52
     
18.08
     
19.33
     
16.52
     
19.68
     
22.02
     
20.06
     
15.55
     
16.14
     
22.13
 
Other
                                                                               
Capital expenditures
 
$
138
   
$
180
   
$
76
   
$
62
   
$
63
   
$
38
   
$
33
   
$
24
   
$
29
   
$
44
 
Depreciation
   
70
     
68
     
47
     
38
     
36
     
33
     
40
     
51
     
55
     
52
 
Common dividends paid
   
63
     
61
     
59
     
58
     
57
     
56
     
47
     
39
     
35
     
36
 
Purchases of common stock
   
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
3
     
14
     
20
 
Current ratio
   
2.8
     
1.7
     
1.8
     
2.2
     
2.3
     
2.1
     
2.1
     
2.4
     
1.8
     
1.9
 
Total debt to total capitalization
   
32.6
%
   
26.4
%
   
28.1
%
   
31.8
%
   
37.7
%
   
46.8
%
   
65.9
%
   
60.0
%
   
61.5
%
   
41.1
%
Effective tax rate
   
35.4
%
   
38.8
%
   
33.1
%
   
24.2
%
   
38.4
%
   
29.6
%
   
30.8
%
   
n/a
     
30.9
%
   
38.1
%
Average common shares outstanding - diluted
   
78.3
     
76.1
     
74.3
     
72.8
     
71.6
     
68.4
     
58.3
     
49.4
     
43.6
     
45.0
 
Shareholders
   
4,900
     
5,100
     
5,300
     
5,700
     
6,100
     
6,400
     
6,800
     
7,200
     
7,500
     
8,000
 
Employees(1)
   
3,700
     
3,600
     
3,600
     
3,100
     
2,900
     
2,800
     
2,700
     
3,000
     
2,700
     
2,900
 

Our Selected Financial Data reflects the following businesses as discontinued operations: Metals business in 2007 and Olin Aegis in 2004.  Since August 31, 2007, our Selected Financial Data reflects the Pioneer acquisition.

(1)         Employee data exclude employees who worked at government-owned/contractor-operated facilities.
20

Item 7.  MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

BUSINESS BACKGROUND

The Metals business was classified as discontinued operations during 2007 and was excluded from the segment results for all periods presented.  As a result, our manufacturing operations are concentrated in two business segments:  Chlor Alkali Products and Winchester.  Both are capital intensive manufacturing businesses with operating rates closely tied to the general economy.  Each segment has a commodity element to it, and therefore, our ability to influence pricing is quite limited on the portion of the segment’s business that is strictly commodity.  Our Chlor Alkali Products business is a commodity business where all supplier products are similar and price is the major supplier selection criterion.  We have little or no ability to influence prices in this large, global commodity market.  Cyclical price swings, driven by changes in supply/demand, can be abrupt and significant and, given capacity in our Chlor Alkali Products business, can lead to very significant changes in our overall profitability.  Winchester also has a commodity element to its business, but a majority of Winchester ammunition is sold as a branded consumer product where there are opportunities to differentiate certain offerings through innovative new product development and enhanced product performance.  While competitive pricing versus other branded ammunition products is important, it is not the only factor in product selection.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND HIGHLIGHTS

2009 Year

In 2009, Chlor Alkali Products’ segment income was $125.4 million, a decline of 62% compared with the prior year.  Chlor Alkali Products continued to experience the weak product demand that began in the fourth quarter of 2008.  Volumes for chlorine and caustic soda decreased 22% compared to 2008.  Volumes for bleach, which accounted for approximately 12% of Chlor Alkali Products’ sales, increased 17% compared to 2008.  Operating rates in Chlor Alkali Products for 2009 and 2008 were 70% and 82%, respectively.  These operating rates assume that 100% of our demonstrated capacity was available for use.  The capacity of our St. Gabriel, LA facility had been shutdown since late November 2008 and the facility was not available for use until the conversion and expansion project was completed in the fourth quarter of 2009.  In addition, in response to low levels of customer demand for chlorine and caustic soda, an additional 5% of our chlorine and caustic soda capacity has been idled by us.  After taking these capacity reduction actions into consideration, our effective operating rate for 2009 was 78%.


 
21

 

Our 2009 ECU netbacks of $520 were 18% lower than the 2008 netbacks of $635, reflecting the changes in the pricing dynamics in North America.  During 2008, North American demand for caustic soda remained strong, while supply continued to be constrained by the weakness in chlorine demand.  This resulted in a significant supply and demand imbalance for caustic soda in North America, which resulted in record caustic soda pricing.  The result was a record ECU netback, in our system, in the first quarter of 2009 of approximately $765.  Beginning late in the fourth quarter of 2008 and continuing through 2009, demand for caustic soda weakened significantly, and fell below the demand for chlorine.  This created excess supply in North America, which has caused caustic soda prices to fall.  The over supply of caustic soda caused industry operating rates to be constrained, which resulted in chlorine price increase announcements of $300 per ton during the second quarter of 2009.  Caustic soda prices declined precipitously in the second quarter of 2009 and these declines continued into the third quarter of 2009.  During the third quarter of 2009, chlorine and caustic soda demand became more balanced eliminating the oversupply of caustic soda.  We began realizing increases in chlorine prices in the third quarter of 2009 with most of the improvement in the fourth quarter of 2009.  We believe that ECU netbacks, in our system, have bottomed out in the third quarter of 2009.  During the fourth quarter of 2009, as caustic soda demand improved, chlorine production declined due to seasonally weaker demand.  This resulted in a supply and demand imbalance for caustic soda in North America.  As a result of this imbalance, in December 2009, a $75 per ton caustic soda price increase was announced.  We expect to begin realizing this price increase in caustic soda in the second quarter of 2010.

Winchester segment income of $68.6 million in 2009, which represented the highest level of segment income in at least the last two decades, improved 110% compared to the prior year segment income of $32.6 million.  Winchester continues to experience the above normal levels of demand that began around the November 2008 presidential election.  The increase in demand has been across the majority of Winchester’s product offerings, including rifle, pistol and rimfire ammunition.  On a volume basis, Winchester’s unit shipments increased 14% in 2009 compared to 2008, which was driven by the higher level of commercial sales.  Winchester’s results reflected the impact of increased volumes and higher selling prices, and lower commodity and other material costs.

Income from continuing operations before taxes for 2009 included $82.1 million of recoveries from third parties for environmental costs incurred and expensed in prior periods.

On August 19, 2009, we sold $150.0 million of 8.875% Senior Notes (2019 Notes) with a maturity date of August 15, 2019.  The 2019 Notes were issued at 99.19% of par value, providing a yield to maturity to investors of 9.0%.  Interest will be paid semi-annually beginning on February 15, 2010.  Proceeds of $145.5 million, after expenses of $3.3 million, from the 2019 Notes will be used to further strengthen our long-term liquidity given uncertain economic times.

During the fourth quarter of 2009, we completed a conversion and expansion project at our St. Gabriel, LA facility and initiated production.  This project increased capacity at this location from 197,000 ECUs to 246,000 ECUs and will significantly reduce the site’s manufacturing costs.  Our capital spending included $69.6 million and $87.2 million for the St. Gabriel, LA facility conversion and expansion project in 2009 and 2008, respectively.

During the second and third quarters of 2009, a bill was introduced in the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively, which, if enacted, would ban the production of chlor alkali products using mercury cell technology two years from the date it is enacted into law.  On October 21, 2009, the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce passed a bill that would require chlor alkali producers using mercury cell technology to make a decision by June 30, 2012 as to whether to shutdown or convert these facilities.  If the decision is to convert, the mercury cell plants would be required to be converted by June 30, 2015.  If the decision is not to convert, the plants would be required to be shutdown by June 30, 2013.  For this bill to become law it must be passed by the full House of Representatives and the full Senate.  No additional action has been taken on this bill since October in the House of Representatives and no action has yet been taken by the Senate on its bill.  We currently operate two facilities which utilize mercury cell technology totaling approximately 350,000 ECUs of capacity (approximately 18% of our capacity).  We are closely monitoring the progress of these bills, but it is too soon to estimate the likelihood of enactment, and therefore to determine what impact there will be on us and the chlor alkali industry.  We operate our mercury cell facilities in full compliance with all environmental rules and regulations.
 
22

 

2008 Year

In 2008, Chlor Alkali Products had record segment income of $328.3 million, an improvement of 38% compared with 2007.  This improvement reflects the combination of the full year contributions from the Pioneer acquisition of $72.7 million, including synergies, and improved pricing of $108.4 million.  These were partially offset by the effect from lower chlorine and caustic soda volumes of $46.7 million.  Operating rates in our Chlor Alkali Products business were 82% for 2008, which were negatively impacted during the fourth quarter of 2008 by lower levels of demand from all major customer groups, and by hurricane-related outages at our St. Gabriel, LA facility and our SunBelt joint venture during the third quarter of 2008.  In response to the low level of demand during the fourth quarter of 2008, we announced that the St. Gabriel, LA facility, which was shutdown for scheduled maintenance in late November 2008, would not resume operations until the current conversion and expansion project was completed.  The project was completed in the fourth quarter of 2009.  The St. Gabriel, LA facility represents approximately 10% of our chlorine and caustic soda capacity.

During the first three quarters of 2008, North American demand for caustic soda remained strong.  In addition, caustic soda supply was constrained by the weakness in chlorine demand, which caused operating rates to be reduced.  This created an imbalance between caustic soda supply and demand.  This imbalance, combined with increased freight and energy costs, resulted in our achieving record levels of caustic soda pricing.  During the fourth quarter of 2008, North American caustic soda demand weakened but less than the decline in chlorine demand.  This caused the caustic soda supply and demand imbalance to continue, which continued to support record levels of caustic soda prices.

On March 12, 2008, we announced that, in connection with our plans to streamline Chlor Alkali Products manufacturing operations in Canada in order to serve our customer base in a more cost effective manner, we would close the acquired Dalhousie, New Brunswick, Canada chlorine, caustic soda, sodium chlorate, and bleach operations.  We substantially completed the closure of the Dalhousie facility by June 30, 2008.  We expect to incur cash expenditures of $2.5 million associated with the shutdown, which were previously included in current liabilities on the Pioneer acquisition balance sheet.  We have paid $2.2 million of costs associated with this shutdown as of December 31, 2009.  This action is expected to generate $8 million to $10 million of annual pretax savings.

Winchester segment income was $32.6 million in 2008, which represented record earnings for the Winchester business, an increase of 23% compared with 2007.  Winchester’s results for 2008 reflected the combination of improved pricing and increased law enforcement volumes which more than offset higher commodity, material and manufacturing costs.

In 2008, other income (expense) included an impairment charge of the full value of a $26.6 million investment in corporate debt securities.  On October 1, 2008, the issuer of these debt securities announced it would cease trading and appoint a receiver as a result of financial market turmoil.  The decline in the market value of the assets supporting these debt securities negatively impacted the liquidity of the issuer.  During the third quarter of 2008, we determined that these debt securities had no fair market value due to the actions taken by the issuer, turmoil in the financial markets, the lack of liquidity of the issuer, and the lack of trading in these debt securities.  We are currently unable to utilize the capital loss resulting from the impairment of these corporate debt securities; therefore, no tax benefit has been recognized for the impairment loss.

In 2008, the domestic defined benefit pension plan’s investment portfolio declined by approximately 1%.  The decline reflected the weakness in the domestic and international equity markets and increases in interest rate spreads, which reduced the value of certain corporate fixed income investments.  The 2008 pension plan’s investment performance reflects the actions taken in 2007 to reduce the defined benefit pension plan’s exposure to equity investments and increase its exposure to fixed income investments.  During the same period, interest rates on corporate bonds, used to determine the defined benefit pension plan’s liability discount rate, fluctuated dramatically during the year but ended comparable with the levels at December 31, 2007, which resulted in no change to the discount rate for 2008.  We recorded an after-tax charge of $99.4 million ($162.7 million pretax) to shareholders’ equity as of December 31, 2008 for our pension and other postretirement plans, which reduced the over funded position in our pension plan that existed at December 31, 2007.  This charge reflected the unfavorable performance on pension plan assets and the unchanged discount rate during 2008.
 
23

 

2007 Year

Discontinued Operations

In 2001, the industry in which the Metals business operates experienced a 25% decline in volumes that created over capacity in the marketplace, which reduced our financial returns in the Metals business.  Volumes did not return to pre-2001 levels.  Since 2001, we had undertaken a number of restructuring and downsizing actions, including multiple plant closures. The benefits of these actions were more than offset by the escalation of both energy and commodity metal prices, specifically copper, zinc, and nickel.  As a result, we were unable to realize acceptable returns in the business.  During the second half of 2006 and first half of 2007, we evaluated a number of strategic alternatives for the Metals business, and we made the decision in mid-2007 to engage Goldman, Sachs & Co. to conduct a formal strategic evaluation process, including the alternative of selling the business.  The sale of Metals provides us with the financial flexibility to pursue investments in areas where we can earn the best returns.

On October 15, 2007, we announced we entered into a definitive agreement to sell the Metals business to Global for $400 million, payable in cash.  The price received was subject to a customary working capital adjustment.  The sale was subject to Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act clearance, but not shareholder approval.  The transaction closed on November 19, 2007.  Based on the Metals assets held for sale, we recognized a pretax loss of $160.0 million partially offset by a $21.0 million income tax benefit, resulting in a net loss on disposal of discontinued operations of $139.0 million for 2007.  The loss on disposal of discontinued operations included a pension curtailment charge of $6.9 million, other postretirement benefits curtailment credit of $1.1 million and transaction fees of $24.6 million.   The final loss recognized related to this transaction did not change upon the final determination of the value of working capital in the business.  The loss on the disposal, which included transaction costs, reflected a book value of the Metals business of approximately $564 million and a tax basis of approximately $396 million.  The difference between the book and tax values of the business reflected primarily goodwill of $75.8 million and intangibles of $10.4 million.  Based on the final working capital adjustment, we received net cash proceeds from the transaction of $380.8 million, which was in addition to the $98.1 million of after-tax cash flow realized from the operation of Metals during 2007.

In April 2008, we and Global entered into binding arbitration regarding the final working capital adjustment.  The arbitration was concluded in 2009 and resulted in a payment of $20.6 million, which was consistent with the estimated working capital adjustment we anticipated from the transaction.

The Metals business was a reportable segment comprised of principal manufacturing facilities in East Alton, IL and Montpelier, OH.  Metals produced and distributed copper and copper alloy sheet, strip, foil, rod, welded tube, fabricated parts, and stainless steel and aluminum strip.  Sales for the Metals business were $1,891.7 million for the period of our ownership in 2007.  The Metals business sales included commodity metal price changes that are primarily a pass-through.  Intersegment sales of $81.4 million for the period of our ownership in 2007, representing the sale of ammunition cartridge case cups to Winchester from Metals, at prices that approximate market, have been eliminated from Metals sales.  In conjunction with the sale of the Metals business, Winchester agreed to purchase the majority of its ammunition cartridge case cups and copper-based strip requirements from Global under a multi-year agreement with pricing, terms, and conditions which approximate market.  The Metals business employed approximately 2,900 hourly and salaried employees.  The results of operations from the Metals business have been presented as discontinued operations for all periods presented.

In conjunction with the sale of the Metals business, we retained certain assets and liabilities including certain assets co-located with our Winchester business in East Alton, IL, assets and liabilities associated with former Metals manufacturing locations, pension assets and pension and postretirement healthcare and life insurance liabilities associated with Metals employees for service earned through the date of sale, and certain environmental obligations existing at the date of closing associated with current and past Metals manufacturing operations and waste disposal sites.
 
24

 


Pioneer Acquisition

On August 31, 2007, we acquired Pioneer, a manufacturer of chlorine, caustic soda, bleach, sodium chlorate, and hydrochloric acid.  Pioneer owned and operated four chlor-alkali plants and several bleach manufacturing facilities in North America.  Under the merger agreement, each share of Pioneer common stock was converted into the right to receive $35.00 in cash, without interest.  The aggregate purchase price for all of Pioneer’s outstanding shares of common stock, together with the aggregate payment due to holders of options to purchase shares of common stock of Pioneer, was $426.1 million, which includes direct fees and expenses.  We financed the merger with cash and $110.0 million of borrowings against our Accounts Receivable Facility.  At the date of acquisition, Pioneer had cash and cash equivalents of $126.4 million.  We assumed $120.0 million of Pioneer’s convertible debt which was redeemed in the fourth quarter of 2007 and January 2008.  We paid a conversion premium of $25.8 million on the Pioneer convertible debt.

For 2008 and the last four months of 2007, Pioneer sales were $552.7 million and $183.6 million, respectively, and segment income was $101.9 million and $29.2 million, respectively, which were included in our Chlor Alkali Products segment results.

Between August 2007 and December 2008, Chlor Alkali Products segment earnings included approximately $47 million of realized cost savings from integrating the Pioneer operations and our operations .  The ability to optimize freight costs has been a key synergy realized as part of the Pioneer acquisition.  In 2007 and 2008, we identified and implemented changes in ship-to and ship-from of both operations’ locations that have reduced annual chlorine ton miles shipped by approximately 5%.  The opportunity to rationalize selling and administration costs was also a significant cost savings realized as part of the Pioneer acquisition.   During the first quarter of 2008, the Pioneer corporate office in Houston was closed, the space was subleased, and all of those activities were consolidated into our existing functions and facilities.

Financing

In August 2007, we entered into a $35 million letter of credit facility to assume the various Pioneer letters of credit issued principally to support the acquisition of materials for the St. Gabriel, LA facility conversion and expansion project.

On October 29, 2007, we entered into a new $220 million five-year senior revolving credit facility, which replaced the $160 million senior revolving credit facility.  During the first quarter of 2008, we increased our senior revolving credit facility by $20 million to $240 million by adding a new lending institution.  The new senior revolving credit facility will expire in October 2012.  We have the option to expand the $240 million senior revolving credit facility by an additional $60 million through adding a maximum of two additional lending institutions each year.  Borrowing options and restrictive covenants are similar to those of our previous $160 million senior revolving credit facility.  The $240 million senior revolving credit facility includes a $110 million letter of credit subfacility which is in addition to the $35 million letter of credit facility.

On June 26, 2007, we entered into the $100 million 364-day revolving credit facility ($100 million Credit Facility) and the $150 million 364-day revolving credit facility ($150 million Credit Facility).  According to their terms, the $100 million Credit Facility matured on the earlier of June 24, 2008 or upon an increase in the lending commitments under our existing senior revolving credit facility and the establishment of an accounts receivable securitization facility, and the $150 million Credit Facility would have matured on June 24, 2008.  In the fourth quarter of 2007, the $100 million Credit Facility expired as all conditions for early termination were met and the $150 million Credit Facility was terminated as we no longer needed the credit commitment.

On July 25, 2007, we established a $250 million, 364-day Accounts Receivable Facility, renewable annually for five years, which expires in July 2012.  As a result of the sale of Metals, the Accounts Receivable Facility was reduced from $250 million to $100 million.  In July 2008, the Accounts Receivable Facility was further reduced from $100 million to $75 million.  The $75 million Accounts Receivable Facility provides for the sale of our eligible trade receivables to a third party conduit through a wholly-owned, bankruptcy-remote, special purpose entity that is consolidated for financial statement purposes.  The Accounts Receivable Facility contains specific covenants relating to the ability of the lender to obtain or maintain a first priority lien on the receivables.  In addition, the Accounts Receivable Facility incorporates the leverage and coverage covenants that are contained in the senior revolving credit facility.
 
25

 

CHLOR ALKALI PRODUCTS PRICING

In accordance with industry practice, we compare ECU prices on a netback basis, reporting and analyzing prices net of the cost of transporting the products to customers to allow for a comparable means of price comparisons between periods and with respect to our competitors.  For purposes of determining our ECU netback, we use prices that we realize as a result of sales of chlorine and caustic soda to our customers, and we do not include the value of chlorine and caustic soda that is incorporated in other products that we manufacture and sell.

Quarterly and annual average ECU netbacks, excluding SunBelt, for 2009, 2008 and 2007 were as follows, which includes Pioneer ECU netbacks subsequent to August 31, 2007:
   
2009
   
2008
   
2007
 
First quarter
 
$
765
   
$
580
   
$
500
 
Second quarter
   
585
     
590
     
510
 
Third quarter
   
375
     
660
     
550
 
Fourth quarter
   
425
     
740
     
555
 
Annual average
   
520
     
635
     
535
 

Beginning in late 2006, driven by reduced levels of chlorine demand and a series of planned and unplanned plant maintenance outages, chlor alkali plant operating rates for the industry were reduced.  While this allowed chlorine supply to stay balanced, it caused caustic soda demand, which did not experience a decline, to exceed supply.  This led to industry-wide caustic soda price increases.  During the first three quarters of 2008, North American demand for caustic soda remained strong.  However, caustic soda supply continued to be constrained by the weakness in chlorine demand, which caused operating rates to be reduced.  This resulted in a significant supply and demand imbalance for caustic soda in North America.  This imbalance, combined with increased freight and energy costs, resulted in our achieving record levels of caustic soda pricing.  During the fourth quarter of 2008, North American caustic soda demand weakened but less than the decline in chlorine demand.  This caused the caustic soda supply and demand imbalance to continue, which continued to support record levels of caustic soda prices.  The result was a record ECU netback, in our system, in the first quarter of 2009.

Our 2009 ECU netbacks of $520 were 18% lower than the 2008 netbacks of $635, reflecting the changes in the pricing dynamics in North America.  Beginning late in the fourth quarter of 2008 and continuing through 2009, demand for caustic soda weakened significantly, and fell below the demand for chlorine.  This created excess supply in North America, which has caused caustic soda prices to fall.  The over supply of caustic soda caused industry operating rates to be constrained, which resulted in chlorine price increase announcements of $300 per ton during the second quarter of 2009.  Caustic soda prices declined precipitously in the second quarter of 2009 and these declines continued into the third quarter of 2009.  During the third quarter of 2009, chlorine and caustic soda demand became more balanced eliminating the oversupply of caustic soda.  We began realizing increases in chlorine prices in the third quarter of 2009 with most of the improvement in the fourth quarter of 2009.  We believe that ECU netbacks, in our system, have bottomed out in the third quarter of 2009.  During the fourth quarter of 2009, as caustic soda demand improved, chlorine production declined due to seasonally weaker demand.  This resulted in a supply and demand imbalance for caustic soda in North America.  As a result of this imbalance, in December 2009, a $75 per ton caustic soda price increase was announced.  We expect to begin realizing this price increase in caustic soda in the second quarter of 2010.

PENSION AND POSTRETIREMENT BENEFITS

In October 2007, we announced that we were freezing our domestic defined benefit pension plan for salaried and certain non-bargained hourly employees.  Affected employees were eligible to accrue pension benefits through December 31, 2007, but are not accruing any additional benefits under the plan after that date.  Employee service after December 31, 2007 does count toward meeting the vesting requirements for such pension benefits and the eligibility requirements for commencing a pension benefit, but not toward the calculation of the pension benefit amount.  Compensation earned after December 31, 2007 similarly does not count toward the determination of the pension benefit amounts under the defined benefit pension plan.  In lieu of continuing pension benefit accruals for the affected employees under the pension plan, starting in 2008, we provide a contribution to an individual retirement contribution account maintained with the Contributing Employee Ownership Plan (CEOP) equal to 5% of the employee’s eligible compensation if such employee is less than age 45, and 7.5% of the employee’s eligible compensation if such employee is age 45 or older.  Freezing the domestic defined benefit pension plan for salaried and certain non-bargained hourly employees was accounted for as a curtailment under ASC 715, formerly SFAS No. 88, “Employer’s Accounting for Settlements and Curtailments of Defined Benefit Pension Plan and for Termination Benefits” (SFAS No. 88).  As a result of freezing the domestic defined benefit pension plan, we recorded a curtailment charge of $1.9 million for the defined benefit pension plan and a corresponding curtailment credit of $1.9 million for the non-qualified pension plan in 2007.
 
26

 


We account for our defined benefit pension plans and non-pension postretirement benefit plans using actuarial models required by ASC 715, formerly SFAS No. 87, “Employers’ Accounting for Pensions” (SFAS No. 87) and SFAS No. 106 "Employers' Accounting for Postretirement Benefits Other than Pension," (SFAS No. 106), respectively.  This model uses an attribution approach that generally spreads the financial impact of changes to the plan and actuarial assumptions over a period of time.  Changes in liability due to changes in actuarial assumptions such as discount rate, rate of compensation increases and mortality, as well as annual deviations between what was assumed and what was experienced by the plan are treated as gains or losses.  The principle underlying the required attribution approach is that employees render service over their average remaining service lives on a relatively smooth basis and, therefore, the accounting for benefits earned under the pension or non-pension postretirement benefits plans should follow the same relatively smooth pattern.  With the closure of our defined benefit pension plan to new entrants, the freezing of our domestic defined benefit pension plan for salaried and certain non-bargained hourly employees that became effective January 1, 2008 and the sale of the Metals business, substantially all defined benefit pension plan participants beginning in 2008 were inactive; therefore, actuarial gains and losses are now being amortized based upon the remaining life expectancy of the inactive plan participants rather than the future service period of the active participants, which was the amortization period used prior to 2008.  For the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008, the average remaining life expectancy of the inactive participants in the defined benefit pension plan was 19 years.

During the third quarter of 2006, the “Pension Protection Act of 2006”, amended by “The Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act,” during the fourth quarter of 2008, became law.  Among the stated objectives of the laws are the protection of both pension beneficiaries and the financial health of the PBGC.  To accomplish these objectives, the new laws require sponsors to fund defined benefit pension plans earlier than previous requirements and to pay increased PBGC premiums.  The laws require defined benefit pension plans to be fully funded in 2011.  In September 2006, we made a voluntary pension plan contribution of $80.0 million and in May 2007, we made an additional $100.0 million voluntary contribution to our defined benefit pension plan.  During 2007, the asset allocation in the plan was adjusted to attempt to insulate the plan from discount rate risk and reduce the plan’s exposure to equity investments.  Based on the combination of these actions and favorable asset performance in 2006, 2007 and 2009 offset by the unfavorable performance on plan assets in 2008, we will not be required to make any cash contributions to the domestic defined benefit pension plan at least through 2010.  We do have a small Canadian defined benefit pension plan to which we made $4.5 million of contributions in 2009 and we anticipate approximately $4 million of contributions in 2010.  At December 31, 2009, the market value of assets in our defined benefit pension plans of $1,722.0 million exceeded the projected benefit obligation by $5.0 million.

Under ASC 715, formerly SFAS No. 158, we recorded an after-tax charge of $27.3 million ($41.7 million pretax) to shareholders’ equity as of December 31, 2009 for our pension and other postretirement plans.  This charge reflected a 50-basis point decrease in the plans’ discount rate, partially offset by the favorable performance on plan assets during 2009.  In 2008, we recorded an after-tax charge of $99.4 million ($162.7 million pretax) to shareholders’ equity as of December 31, 2008 for our pension and other postretirement plans.  This charge reflected the unfavorable performance on plan assets during 2008.  In 2007, we recorded a $138.3 million after-tax credit ($226.6 million pretax) to shareholders’ equity as of December 31, 2007 for our pension and other postretirement plans.  This credit reflected a 25-basis point increase in the plans’ discount rate, combined with an increase in the value of the plan assets from favorable plan performance and the $100.0 million contribution.  The non-cash credits or charges to shareholders’ equity do not affect our ability to borrow under our senior revolving credit agreement.

Components of net periodic benefit (income) costs were:
     Years ended December 31,  
   
2009
   
2008
   
2007
 
   
($ in millions)
 
Pension benefits
 
$
(16.7
)
 
$
(7.6
)
 
$
33.5
 
Other postretirement benefits
   
7.3
     
8.5
     
10.8
 

In 2008, we recorded curtailment charges of $4.1 million associated with the transition of a portion of our East Alton, IL Winchester hourly workforce and our McIntosh, AL Chlor Alkali hourly workforce from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution pension plan.  In 2007, we recorded a defined benefit pension curtailment charge of $6.9 million and other postretirement benefits curtailment credit of $1.1 million related to the sale of the Metals business, which were included in the loss on disposal of discontinued operations.  Also during 2007, we recorded a curtailment charge of $0.5 million resulting from the conversion of a portion of the Metals hourly workforce from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution pension plan.  This curtailment charge was included in income from discontinued operations.
 
27

 


After giving effect to the changes in curtailment charges and credits, the decrease in 2008 net periodic pension expense from 2007 was due to the favorable impact of the $100 million voluntary contribution made in May 2007, the favorable 2007 investment returns, a 25-basis point increase in the liability discount rate in 2007, the impact of the plan freeze for salaried and certain non-bargained hourly employees that became effective January 1, 2008, and an increase in the amortization period for actuarial losses.

The service cost and the amortization of prior service cost components of pension expense related to employees of the operating segments are allocated to the operating segments based on their respective estimated census data.  Therefore, the allocated portion of net periodic benefit costs for the Metals business of $7.9 million for the period of our ownership in 2007 was included in income from discontinued operations.  The portion of other postretirement benefit costs for the Metals business employees of $4.4 million for the period of our ownership in 2007 was also included in income from discontinued operations.

CONSOLIDATED RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
     Years ended December 31,  
   
2009
   
2008
   
2007
 
   
($ in millions, except per share data)
 
Sales
 
$
1,531.5
   
$
1,764.5
   
$
1,276.8
 
Cost of goods sold
   
1,222.7
     
1,377.2
     
1,035.5
 
Gross margin
   
308.8
     
387.3
     
241.3
 
Selling and administration
   
135.3
     
137.3
     
129.2
 
Other operating income
   
9.1
     
1.2
     
1.9
 
Operating income
   
182.6
     
251.2
     
114.0
 
Earnings of non-consolidated affiliates
   
37.7
     
39.4
     
46.0
 
Interest expense
   
11.6
     
13.3
     
22.1
 
Interest income
   
1.1
     
6.2
     
11.6
 
Other income (expense)
   
0.1
     
(26.0
)
   
1.2
 
Income from continuing operations before taxes
   
209.9
     
257.5
     
150.7
 
Income tax provision
   
74.2
     
99.8
     
49.9
 
Income from continuing operations
   
135.7
     
157.7
     
100.8
 
Discontinued operations:
                       
Income from discontinued operations, net
   
     
     
29.0
 
Loss on disposal of discontinued operations, net
   
     
     
(139.0
)
Net income (loss)
 
$
135.7
   
$
157.7
   
$
(9.2
)
Basic income (loss) per common share:
                       
Income from continuing operations
 
$
1.74
   
$
2.08
   
$
1.36
 
Income from discontinued operations, net
   
     
     
0.39
 
Loss on disposal of discontinued operations, net
   
     
     
(1.87
)
Net income (loss)
 
$
1.74
   
$
2.08
   
$
(0.12
)
Diluted income (loss) per common share:
                       
Income from continuing operations
 
$
1.73
   
$
2.07
   
$
1.36
 
Income from discontinued operations, net
   
     
     
0.39
 
Loss on disposal of discontinued operations, net
   
     
     
(1.87
)
Net income (loss)
 
$
1.73
   
$
2.07
   
$
(0.12
)
 
 
28

 

2009 Compared to 2008

Our total sales for 2009 were $1,531.5 million compared to $1,764.5 million last year, a decrease of $233.0 million, or 13%.  Chlor Alkali Products’ sales decreased by $311.6 million, or 24%, primarily due to decreased shipment volumes and lower ECU prices.  Our ECU netbacks, excluding SunBelt, decreased 18% compared to last year.  Winchester sales increased by $78.6 million, or 16%, from 2008 primarily due to increased volumes.

Gross margin decreased $78.5 million, or 20%, from 2008, due to decreased Chlor Alkali gross margin resulting from lower volumes and decreased ECU netbacks, partially offset by improved Winchester gross margin resulting from higher volumes and lower commodity and other material costs.  The 2009 gross margin was positively impacted by recoveries from third parties for environmental costs incurred and expensed in prior periods of $82.1 million.  Gross margin as a percentage of sales decreased to 20% in 2009 from 22% in 2008.

Selling and administration expenses in 2009 decreased $2.0 million, or 1%, from 2008, primarily due to lower non-income taxes of $5.3 million, primarily due to a favorable resolution of a Canadian capital tax matter, lower recruiting and relocation charges of $4.3 million, and decreased management incentive compensation expense of $2.5 million, which includes mark-to-market adjustments on stock-based compensation, partially offset by a higher level of legal and legal-related settlement expenses of $3.6 million, which included costs for recovery actions for environmental costs previously incurred and expensed, a higher provision for doubtful customer accounts receivable of $2.6 million related to a deterioration in customer credit, increased consulting and professional fees of $2.3 million and higher salary and benefit costs of $1.6 million.  Selling and administration expenses as a percentage of sales were 9% in 2009 and 8% in 2008.

Other operating income in 2009 increased by $7.9 million from 2008.  Other operating income for 2009 included gains of $6.5 million on the disposition of property, plant, and equipment compared to a loss of $0.7 million for 2008.  The 2009 gains were primarily associated with sales of real estate and dispositions of assets associated with the St. Gabriel, LA facility conversion and expansion project.  Other operating income for 2009 also included a gain of $0.8 million for the sale of other assets.

The earnings of non-consolidated affiliates were $37.7 million for 2009, a decrease of $1.7 million from 2008, primarily due to lower ECU prices at SunBelt, partially offset by increased earnings at our bleach joint venture.

Interest expense decreased by $1.7 million, or 13%, in 2009 primarily due to an increase of $4.7 million in capitalized interest associated with our St. Gabriel, LA facility conversion and expansion project and a major maintenance capital project at our McIntosh, AL facility, partially offset by a higher level of outstanding debt.

Interest income decreased by $5.1 million, or 82%, in 2009 primarily due to lower short-term interest rates.
 
    The effective tax rate for 2009 included a $2.8 million reduction in expense primarily associated with the finalization of the 2008 income tax returns, which resulted in lower state tax expense, and a $3.2 million reduction in expense primarily associated with the expiration of statutes of limitation in domestic and foreign jurisdictions.  After giving consideration to these two items of $6.0 million, the effective tax rate for 2009 of 38.2%, was higher than the 35% U.S. federal statutory rate primarily due to state income taxes, which were offset in part by the utilization of certain state tax credits.  The effective tax rate for 2008 included expense of $10.4 million for a valuation allowance required against the deferred tax benefit resulting from the $26.6 million capital loss carryforward generated from the impairment of corporate debt securities.  The effective tax rate for 2008 also included a $2.1 million reduction in expense primarily associated with the finalization of the 2007 income tax returns, which resulted in an increased benefit for the domestic manufacturing deduction.  After giving consideration to these two items of $8.3 million, the effective tax rate for 2008 of 35.5% was higher than the 35% U.S. federal statutory rate primarily due to state income taxes, which were offset in part by the benefit of the domestic manufacturing deduction and the utilization of certain state tax credits.
 
29

 

2008 Compared to 2007

For 2008, total company sales were $1,764.5 million compared with $1,276.8 million in 2007, an increase of $487.7 million, or 38%.  Chlor Alkali Products sales increased by $430.3 million, or 51%, primarily due to the inclusion of a full year of Pioneer sales in 2008 compared with four months in 2007 and higher ECU prices.  The acquisition of Pioneer contributed to an increase in 2008 sales of $369.1 million compared to 2007.  Winchester sales increased by $57.4 million, or 13%, from 2007 primarily due to increased selling prices and improved law enforcement volumes.

Gross margin increased $146.0 million, or 61%, from 2007, as a result of improved Chlor Alkali Products gross margin, primarily due to the contribution from Pioneer, and improved Winchester gross margin from higher selling prices.  Gross margin was also positively impacted by decreased environmental costs in 2008 of $10.2 million primarily associated with a charge in 2007 related to costs at a former waste disposal site based on revised remediation estimates resulting from negotiations with a government agency and the reduction in defined benefit pension expense of $13.7 million, which was partially offset by an increase in defined contribution pension expense of $7.6 million.  Gross margin as a percentage of sales increased to 22% in 2008 from 19% in 2007.

Selling and administration expenses as a percentage of sales were 8% in 2008 and 10% in 2007.  Selling and administration expenses in 2008 were $8.1 million higher than 2007 primarily due to expenses associated with the acquired Pioneer operations, net of synergies of $10.5 million, a higher provision for doubtful customer accounts receivable of $3.0 million, increased stock-based compensation expense of $2.3 million, primarily resulting from mark-to-market adjustments, higher consulting costs of $1.3 million and increased salary and benefit costs of $1.4 million.  These increases were partially offset by decreased defined benefit pension expense of $12.1 million, offset by increased defined contribution pension expense of $1.0 million.

Other operating income for 2008 included $1.0 million for a portion of a 2007 gain realized on an intangible asset sale in Chlor Alkali Products, which is recognized ratably through 2012, $0.9 million for a portion of a gain realized on the sale of equipment, which is recognized ratably through June 2009, and $0.2 million of a gain on the disposition of land associated with a former manufacturing facility.  These gains were partially offset by a loss of $0.9 million on the disposition of property, plant and equipment.  Other operating income for 2007 included the receipt of a $1.3 million contingent payment associated with a 1995 divestiture and $0.6 million for a portion of a 2007 gain realized on an intangible asset sale in Chlor Alkali Products.

The earnings of non-consolidated affiliates were $39.4 million for 2008, a decrease of $6.6 million from 2007.  Lower volumes at SunBelt, due to the impact of hurricane-related outages and other force majeure events at one of its chlorine customers, were partially offset by higher ECU prices.

Interest expense decreased by $8.8 million, or 40%, in 2008, primarily due to a lower level of outstanding debt and capitalization of $5.0 million of interest in 2008 associated with our St. Gabriel, LA facility conversion and expansion project and a major maintenance capital project at our McIntosh, AL facility.

Interest income decreased by $5.4 million, or 47%, in 2008 primarily due to lower short-term interest rates.

Other income (expense) for 2008 included an impairment charge of the full value of a $26.6 million investment in corporate debt securities.

The effective tax rate for continuing operations for 2008 included expense of $10.4 million for a valuation allowance required against the deferred tax benefit generated from the impairment of corporate debt securities.  As we are currently unable to utilize the capital loss resulting from the impairment of the $26.6 million of corporate debt securities, no tax benefit was recognized during 2008 for the impairment loss.  Additionally, the effective tax rate for continuing operations for 2008 included a $2.1 million reduction in expense primarily associated with the finalization of the 2007 income tax returns which resulted in an increased benefit for the domestic manufacturing deduction.  The effective tax rate for continuing operations for 2008 of 35.5%, which was increased by the effect of these two items of $8.3 million, was higher than the 35% U.S. federal statutory rate primarily due to state income taxes, which were offset in part by the benefit of the domestic manufacturing deduction and the utilization of certain state tax credits.   The effective tax rate for continuing operations for 2007 of 33.1% was lower than the 35% U.S. federal statutory rate primarily due to the benefit of the domestic manufacturing deduction and the utilization of certain state tax credits, offset in part by state income taxes and income in certain foreign jurisdictions being taxed at higher rates.
 
30

 

SEGMENT RESULTS

We define segment results as income (loss) from continuing operations before interest expense, interest income, other income (expense), and income taxes and include the results of non-consolidated affiliates.  Consistent with the guidance in ASC 280 “Segment Reporting” (ASC 280), formerly SFAS No. 131, “Disclosures About Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information,” (SFAS No. 131), we have determined it is appropriate to include the operating results of non-consolidated affiliates in the relevant segment financial results.  Our management considers SunBelt to be an integral component of the Chlor Alkali Products segment.  They are engaged in the same business activity as the segment, including joint or overlapping marketing, management, and manufacturing functions.

     Years ended December 31,  
   
2009
   
2008
   
2007
 
Sales:
 
($ in millions)
 
Chlor Alkali Products
 
$
963.8
   
$
1,275.4
   
$
845.1
 
Winchester
   
567.7
     
489.1
     
431.7
 
Total sales
 
$
1,531.5
   
$
1,764.5
   
$
1,276.8
 
Income from continuing operations before taxes
                       
Chlor Alkali Products(1)
 
$
125.4
   
$
328.3
   
$
237.3
 
Winchester
   
68.6
     
32.6
     
26.4
 
Corporate/Other:
                       
Pension income (expense)(2)
   
22.3
     
14.8
     
(3.9
)
Environmental income (expense)(3)
   
58.0
     
(27.7
)
   
(37.9
)
Other corporate and unallocated costs
   
(63.1
)
   
(58.6
)
   
(63.8
)
Other operating income(4)
   
9.1
     
1.2
     
1.9
 
Interest expense(5)
   
(11.6
)
   
(13.3
)
   
(22.1
)
Interest income
   
1.1
     
6.2
     
11.6
 
Other income (expense)(6)
   
0.1
     
(26.0
)
   
1.2
 
Income from continuing operations before taxes
 
$
209.9
   
$
257.5
   
$
150.7
 

(1)
Earnings of non-consolidated affiliates are included in the Chlor Alkali Products segment results consistent with management’s monitoring of the operating segment.  The earnings from non-consolidated affiliates were $37.7 million, $39.4 million, and $46.0 million for the years ended 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively.

(2)
The service cost and the amortization of prior service cost components of pension expense related to the employees of the operating segments are allocated to the operating segments based on their respective estimated census data.  All other components of pension costs are included in corporate/other and include items such as the expected return on plan assets, interest cost and recognized actuarial gains and losses.  Pension income (expense) for the year ended December 31, 2008 included curtailment charges of $4.1 million associated with the transition of a portion of our East Alton, IL Winchester hourly workforce and our McIntosh, AL Chlor Alkali hourly workforce from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution pension plan.

(3)
Environmental income (expense) in 2009 included $82.1 million of recoveries from third parties for costs incurred and expensed in prior periods.  Environmental income (expense) is included in cost of goods sold in the consolidated statements of operations.

(4)
Other operating income for 2009 included a $3.7 million gain on the sale of land, a $1.2 million gain on the disposition of a former manufacturing facility and $1.6 million of gains on the disposal of assets primarily associated with the St. Gabriel, LA conversion and expansion project.

(5)
Interest expense was reduced by capitalized interest of $9.7 million, $5.0 million and $0.2 million for the years ended 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively.

(6)
Other income (expense) in 2008 included an impairment charge of the full value of a $26.6 million investment in corporate debt securities.  We are currently unable to utilize the capital loss resulting from the impairment of these corporate debt securities; therefore, no tax benefit has been recognized for the impairment loss.

 
31

 


Chlor Alkali Products

2009 Compared to 2008

Chlor Alkali Products’ sales for 2009 were $963.8 million compared to $1,275.4 million for 2008, a decrease of $311.6 million, or 24%.  The sales decrease was primarily due to lower chlorine and caustic soda volumes of 22%, and lower ECU pricing, which decreased 18% from 2008.  Volumes for bleach, which accounted for approximately 12% of Chlor Alkali Products’ sales, increased 17% compared to 2008.  Our ECU netbacks, excluding SunBelt, were approximately $520 compared to approximately $635 for 2008.  Freight costs included in the ECU netback increased 9% for 2009 compared to 2008.  Our operating rate for 2009 was 70%, compared to our operating rate of 82% for 2008.  The lower operating rate for 2009 was the result of lower caustic soda and chlorine demand.

Chlor Alkali posted segment income of $125.4 million for 2009 compared to $328.3 million for 2008, a decrease of $202.9 million, or 62%.  Chlor Alkali segment income was lower primarily due to lower ECU netbacks ($126.9 million), decreased volumes ($69.1 million), higher operating costs ($5.2 million), and lower earnings of non-consolidated affiliates ($1.7 million).  The lower earnings of non-consolidated affiliates primarily resulted from lower ECU prices at SunBelt, partially offset by increased earnings at our bleach joint venture.  The operating results from SunBelt included interest expense of $4.0 million and $4.4 million in 2009 and 2008, respectively, on the SunBelt Notes.

2008 Compared to 2007

Chlor Alkali Products’ sales for 2008 were $1,275.4 million compared to $845.1 million for 2007, an increase of $430.3 million, or 51%.  Pioneer sales for 2008 were $552.7 million compared to $183.6 million for the last four months of 2007, an increase of $369.1 million.  Chlor Alkali Products’ sales, excluding Pioneer, increased $61.2 million, or 9%.  The sales increase was due to increased ECU pricing, partially offset by lower volumes.  The combined Olin and Pioneer chlorine and caustic soda ECU netback, excluding SunBelt, increased 19% to approximately $635 for 2008 compared to approximately $535 in 2007, which included Pioneer for the last four months.  Freight costs included in the ECU netback increased 28% in 2008 compared to 2007.  The combined Olin and Pioneer operating rate for 2008 was 82%, compared to the operating rate of 92% in 2007.  The lower operating rate for 2008 was the result of lower chlorine demand and was also negatively affected by two hurricanes, which caused production and customer outages and disruptions to the transportation system.

Chlor Alkali posted segment income of $328.3 million for 2008 compared to $237.3 million for 2007.  Chlor Alkali segment income included Pioneer income of $101.9 million and $29.2 million for 2008 and 2007, respectively.  Chlor Alkali segment income, excluding Pioneer, was higher in 2008 by $18.3 million, or 9%, primarily because of increased selling prices ($108.4 million), partially offset by decreased volumes ($46.7 million), higher operating costs ($35.2 million), and lower SunBelt results ($7.5 million).  Chlor Alkali segment income for 2008 also included a $2.6 million gain from a litigation recovery.  Operating expenses increased primarily due to increases in distribution costs and manufacturing costs, which included higher electricity prices.  The lower SunBelt earnings primarily resulted from lower volumes due to the impact of hurricane-related outages and other force majeure events at one of its chlorine customers partially offset by higher ECU selling prices in 2008.  The operating results from SunBelt included interest expense of $4.4 million and $4.8 million in 2008 and 2007, respectively, on the SunBelt Notes.
 
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Winchester

2009 Compared to 2008

Winchester sales were $567.7 million for 2009 compared to $489.1 million for 2008, an increase of $78.6 million, or 16%.  Sales of ammunition to domestic and international commercial customers increased $66.1 million.  Winchester continues to experience the above normal levels of demand that began around the November 2008 presidential election.  The increase in demand has been across the majority of Winchester’s product offerings, including rifle, pistol and rimfire ammunition.  Shipments to military customers also increased $20.3 million.  These increases were partially offset by lower shipments to industrial customers, who primarily supply the construction sector, of $7.8 million and decreased shipments to law enforcement agencies of $3.3 million.  On a volume basis, Winchester’s overall unit shipments increased 14%, which was driven by the higher level of commercial sales.

Winchester reported segment income of $68.6 million for 2009 compared to $32.6 million for 2008, an increase of $36.0 million, or 110%.  The increase was primarily due to the impact of increased volumes and higher selling prices ($24.7 million) and decreased commodity and other material costs partially offset by higher operating costs ($10.7 million).

2008 Compared to 2007

Sales were $489.1 million in 2008 compared to $431.7 million for 2007, an increase of $57.4 million, or 13%.  Sales of ammunition to domestic and international commercial customers increased $31.1 million.  Shipments to law enforcement agencies increased $19.4 million for 2008 compared to 2007.   Shipments to military customers increased $2.8 million.

Winchester reported segment income of $32.6 million for 2008 compared to $26.4 million for 2007, an increase of $6.2 million, or 23%.  The increase was due to the impact of higher selling prices and increased volumes to law enforcement agencies ($56.1 million), which were partially offset by increased commodity and other material costs and higher operating costs ($46.0 million) and lower volumes primarily with commercial customers ($6.7 million).  For 2008, the actual copper cost for Winchester increased by 11% compared to 2007, while the average price of lead increased 75% compared to 2007.  The Winchester business consumes approximately four times as much lead as it does copper, and the year-over-year increase in the actual lead cost equates to approximately $25 million of annual expense.

Corporate/Other

2009 Compared to 2008

For 2009, pension income included in corporate/other was $22.3 million compared to $14.8 million for 2008.  Pension income for 2008 included a curtailment charge of $4.1 million associated with the transition of a portion of our East Alton, IL Winchester hourly workforce and our McIntosh, AL Chlor Alkali hourly workforce from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution pension plan.  On a total company basis, defined benefit pension income for 2009 was $16.7 million compared to $7.6 million for 2008.
 
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Credits to income for environmental investigatory and remedial activities were $58.0 million for 2009, which includes $82.1 million of recoveries from third parties of costs incurred and expensed in prior periods.  Without these recoveries in 2009, charges to income for environmental investigatory and remedial activities would have been $24.1 million for 2009 compared with $27.7 million for 2008.  These charges relate primarily to expected future investigatory and remedial activities associated with past manufacturing operations and former waste disposal sites.

For 2009, other corporate and unallocated costs were $63.1 million compared with $58.6 million in 2008, an increase of $4.5 million, or 8%.  The increase was primarily due to higher asset retirement obligation charges of $4.4 million, primarily related to increases in estimated costs for certain assets, increased legal and legal-related settlement expenses of $3.3 million, which included costs for recovery actions for environmental costs previously incurred and expensed, increased consulting and professional fees of $1.5 million and higher salary and benefit costs of $1.3 million, partially offset by lower non-income taxes of $5.1 million, primarily due to a favorable resolution of a Canadian capital tax matter, and decreased management incentive compensation costs of $1.1 million, which includes mark-to-market adjustments on stock-based compensation.

2008 Compared to 2007

For 2008, pension income included in corporate/other was $14.8 million compared to pension expense of $3.9 million for 2007.  The $18.7 million decrease in corporate pension expense was due to the combination of a 25-basis point increase in the liability discount rate in 2007, the $100 million voluntary contribution made to our defined benefit pension plan in May 2007, the favorable performance on plan assets in 2007, the benefits of the plan freeze for salary and certain non-bargained hourly employees, which became effective January 1, 2008, and the increase in the amortization period of actuarial losses.  These decreases were partially offset by curtailment charges of $4.1 million associated with the transition of a portion of our East Alton, IL Winchester hourly workforce and our McIntosh, AL Chlor Alkali hourly workforce from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution pension plan.

On a total company basis, defined benefit pension income for 2008 was $7.6 million compared to defined benefit pension expense of $33.5 million for 2007.  The decrease in total company pension expense reflected curtailment charges of $7.4 million for 2007 relating to the Metals business and $7.9 million for the Metals allocated portion of service cost and the amortization of prior service cost components of pension expense, which were included in discontinued operations.  This defined benefit pension cost reduction was partially offset by higher defined contribution pension costs.  Total company defined contribution pension expense for 2008 was $11.3 million compared to $2.7 million for 2007.

Charges to income for environmental investigatory and remedial activities were $27.7 million for 2008, compared with $37.9 million in 2007.  This provision related primarily to expected future investigatory and remedial activities associated with past manufacturing operations and former waste disposal sites.  The decrease of $10.2 million was primarily due to a $7.9 million charge in 2007 related to costs at a former waste disposal site based on revised remediation estimates resulting from negotiations with a government agency.

For 2008, other corporate and unallocated costs were $58.6 million compared with $63.8 million in 2007, a decrease of $5.2 million, or 8%.  The decrease was primarily due to lower asset retirement obligation charges of $3.6 million, primarily related to a reduction in the liability for a former chemical manufacturing location, lower legal and legal-related settlement expenses of $2.9 million, and lower consulting charges of $0.8 million, partially offset by increased management incentive compensation costs of $1.9 million, primarily resulting from mark-to-market adjustments on stock-based compensation.
 
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2010 OUTLOOK

Net income in the first quarter of 2010 is projected to be in the $0.10 per diluted share range compared with $0.60 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2009.

In Chlor Alkali Products, the first quarter of 2010 segment earnings are expected to improve slightly compared to the fourth quarter of 2009 as we are anticipating some improvement in demand as compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.  We also expect the first quarter 2010 chlorine and caustic soda shipments to improve from the first quarter of 2009.  Chlor Alkali Products’ operating rates in the first quarter of 2010 are forecast to be in the low to mid 70% range, which is an improvement from both the fourth quarter of 2009 level of 70% and the first quarter of 2009 level of 65%.  Fourth quarter 2009 ECU netbacks were approximately $425, which was an improvement from the approximately $375 experienced in the third quarter of 2009.  First quarter 2010 ECU netbacks are anticipated to be comparable to the fourth quarter of 2009.  The first quarter of 2009 ECU netback was a record, in our system, of approximately $765.  We believe that ECU netbacks, in our system, bottomed out in the third quarter of 2009.  In December 2009, a $75 per ton caustic soda price increase was announced.  We expect to begin realizing this price increase in caustic soda in the second quarter of 2010.

Winchester first quarter 2010 segment earnings are expected to be similar to the first quarter of 2009 segment earnings of $17.0 million as higher than normal levels of demand are expected to continue in the first quarter of 2010.  During the first quarter of 2010, Winchester announced price increases to be effective at the end of the first quarter of 2010.  Similar increases were announced by Winchester’s major competitors.  These increases are in reaction to the escalation in the prices of both copper and lead.

Winchester continues to experience the above normal levels of demand that began around the November 2008 presidential election.  The increase in demand has been across the majority of Winchester’s product offerings, including rifle, pistol and rimfire ammunition.  Additionally, we believe there is an industry-wide lack of ammunition inventory in the customer supply chain system.  Winchester anticipates that higher than normal levels of demand will continue past the first quarter of 2010.

Without the 2009 recoveries of $82.1 million of environmental costs incurred and expensed in prior periods, we anticipate that 2010 charges for environmental investigatory and remedial activities will be 10% to 20% greater than the 2009 level of $24.1 million.  As we look beyond 2009, we do not believe that there will be meaningful additional recoveries of environmental costs incurred and expensed in prior periods.

In 2010, we expect defined benefit pension income will be similar to the 2009 level.  Based on the December 31, 2009 funding status, we will not be required to make any cash contributions to our domestic defined benefit pension plan in 2010, and we also believe it is unlikely we will be required to make any contributions in 2011.  We do have a small Canadian defined benefit pension plan to which we made $4.5 million of contributions in 2009 and we anticipate approximately $4 million of contributions in 2010.

We believe the 2010 effective tax rate will be in the 37% to 38% range, before discrete items.  During periods of low earnings, our effective tax rate can be significantly impacted by permanent tax deduction items, return to provision adjustments, changes in tax contingencies and valuation allowances, and tax credits.

In 2010, we expect our capital spending to be in the $70 million to $80 million range, which includes bleach manufacturing and shipping by railroad expansion projects at three of our chlor alkali facilities.  This anticipated 2010 capital spending compares with the 2009 capital spending of $137.9 million.  We are also actively developing a low salt, high strength bleach facility that will double the concentration of the bleach we manufacture, which should significantly reduce transportation costs.  During 2010, we expect to initiate a $15 million to $20 million capital project to construct a low salt, high strength bleach facility to be co-located at one of our existing chlor alkali facilities.  Additional investments in low salt, high strength bleach could follow in future years.  As a result of the capitalization of the St. Gabriel, LA conversion and expansion project in late 2009, we expect 2010 depreciation expense to be approximately $90 million.
 
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ENVIRONMENTAL MATTERS
    Years ended December 31,  
   
2009
   
2008
   
2007
 
Cash (receipts) outlays:
 
($ in millions)
 
Remedial and investigatory spending (charged to reserve)
 
$
19.0
   
$
23.7
   
$
29.4
 
Recoveries from third parties
   
(82.1
)