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NL REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER 2020 RESULTS

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Dallas, Texas, March 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NL Industries, Inc. (NYSE:NL) today reported net income attributable to NL stockholders of $4.3 million, or $.09 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to net income attributable to NL stockholders of $6.3 million, or $.13 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2019.  For the full year of 2020, NL reported net income attributable to NL stockholders of $14.7 million, or $.30 per share, compared to net income attributable to NL stockholders of $25.8 million, or $.53 per share in 2019.  NL results include an unrealized loss of $8.7 million in the full year of 2020 related to the change in value of marketable equity securities compared to a $.9 million unrealized loss in 2019.  NL also recognized a pre-tax litigation settlement expense of $19.3 million ($.31 per share, net of income tax benefit) mainly in the second quarter of 2019.

CompX net sales were $30.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to $29.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 and $114.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $124.2 million for the full year of 2019.  CompX net sales increased in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 as lower Security Products sales were more than offset by increased Marine Components sales, with the towboat market representing most of the increase in marine sales.  CompX net sales decreased in the full year of 2020 compared to the full year of 2019 due to lower Security Products sales primarily resulting from customer disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, somewhat offset by higher Marine Components sales.

Income from operations attributable to CompX was $2.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to $3.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 and $11.8 million in the full year of 2020 compared to $17.7 million in the full year of 2019.  Operating income decreased in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 as the improvement in Marine Components operating income was offset by the decline of Security Products operating income.  Security Products operating income for the period declined primarily due to the higher cost of sales noted below, as well as increased medical costs. Operating income in the full year of 2020 compared to the full year of 2019 was negatively impacted by higher fixed cost per unit of production as the result of lower production volumes in the second and third quarters which increased the cost of inventory produced in these quarters and sold in the second half of 2020.  Additionally, operating income in the full year of 2020 compared to prior year was negatively impacted by increased employer paid medical costs unrelated to the pandemic.  In the second half of 2020, CompX sales began to recover from the historically low levels it experienced during the second quarter, with sales steadily improving for the remainder of the year. In the second half of the year, CompX's manufacturing operations returned to more normal production rates as demand from its customers began to return, although Security Products operations did not recover to pre-pandemic levels.

NL recognized equity in earnings of Kronos of $3.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to $2.9 million in the same period of 2019 and $19.4 million in the full year of 2020 compared to $26.5 million in the full year of 2019.  Kronos' net sales of $414.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 were $42.2 million, or 11%, higher than in the fourth quarter of 2019.  Kronos' net sales of $1.6 billion in the full year of 2020 were $92.3 million, or 5%, lower than in the full year of 2019.  Kronos' net sales increased in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 primarily due to higher sales volumes partially offset by lower average TiO2 selling prices.  Kronos' net sales decreased in the full year of 2020 compared to the full year of 2019 primarily due to lower sales volumes and lower average TiO2 selling prices.  Kronos' TiO2 sales volumes were 12% higher in the fourth quarter of 2020 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 primarily due to higher demand in its European and North American markets. Kronos' TiO2 sales volumes were 6% lower in the full year of 2020 as compared to the full year of 2019 due to lower sales volumes in all major markets, primarily resulting from demand contraction related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which mainly impacted the second and third quarters. Kronos' average TiO2 selling prices were 3% lower in the fourth quarter of 2020 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 and 2% lower in the full year of 2020 as compared to the full year of 2019.  Kronos' average TiO2 selling prices at the end of 2020 were comparable to its average TiO2 selling prices at the end of the third quarter of 2020 and 3% lower than the beginning of the year.  Fluctuations in currency exchange rates (primarily the euro) also affected Kronos' net sales comparisons, increasing net sales by approximately $13 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 and increasing net sales by approximately $9 million in the full year of 2020 as compared to the same periods in 2019. 

Kronos' income from operations in the fourth quarter of 2020 was $20.4 million as compared to $17.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. For the full year of 2020, Kronos' income from operations was $116.2 million as compared to $145.8 million in 2019.   Kronos' income from operations increased in the fourth quarter of 2020 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 primarily due to higher sales volumes and lower production costs, partially offset by lower average TiO2 selling prices.  Kronos' income from operations decreased for the full year of 2020 compared to the full year of 2019 primarily due to the effects of lower sales volumes, lower average TiO2 selling prices and higher raw materials and other production costs.  Kronos' TiO2 production volumes were 8% lower in the fourth quarter of 2020 and 5% lower in the full year of 2020 as compared to the same periods in 2019.  Kronos operated its production facilities at overall average capacity utilization rates of 92% in the full year of 2020 (95%, 96%, 86% and 92% in the first, second, third and fourth quarters of 2020, respectively) compared to 98% in 2019 (97% in the first, second and third quarters and at full practical capacity in the fourth quarter of 2019).  Early in the third quarter of 2020, Kronos decreased production levels to correspond with a temporary decline in market demand, then increased production levels later in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter to align with improved demand and its market expectations for the near term. Fluctuations in currency exchange rates increased income from operations by approximately $6 million in the full year of 2020 as compared to the full year of 2019, while fluctuations in currency exchange rates had only a nominal effect on the fourth quarter income from operations comparison. 

Corporate expenses decreased $1.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 primarily due to lower litigation fees and related costs and lower administrative expenses.  Corporate expenses decreased $3.0 million in the full year of 2020 compared to the full year of 2019 primarily due to lower litigation fees and related costs and lower administrative expenses partially offset by higher environmental remediation and related costs. We recognized a $19.3 million pre-tax litigation settlement expense in 2019 for a settlement agreement that was approved by the court in July 2019. 

Insurance recoveries represent amounts we receive from certain of our former insurance carriers and generally relate to the recovery of past lead pigment and asbestos litigation defense costs we have incurred.  Substantially all of the insurance recoveries we recognized in 2019 relate to a settlement we reached with a single insurance carrier that agreed to reimburse us for a portion of our past and future litigation defense costs.  Such insurance recoveries aggregated $5.1 million ($.08 per share, net of income tax expense) in 2019. 

Other income, net in 2019 includes a gain of $4.4 million ($.07 per share, net of income tax expense) related to a sale of excess property in the third quarter and a gain of $3.0 million ($.05 per share, net of income tax expense) related to the sale of our insurance and risk management business in the fourth quarter.

Interest and dividend income decreased $1.0 million in the fourth quarter and $4.1 million in the full year of 2020 compared to the prior year periods primarily due to lower average balances and lower interest rates on CompX's revolving promissory note receivable from Valhi as well as lower average interest rates on invested balances partially offset by higher cash and cash equivalents available for investment.  Marketable equity securities represent the change in unrealized gains (losses) on our portfolio of marketable equity securities during the periods.

Our results of operations for 2020 were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily in the second and third quarters, due to government mandated closures and reduced demand for many of CompX's and Kronos' products resulting from the rapid contraction of vast areas of the global economy. The extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our future operations will depend on the time period and degree to which the COVID-19 pandemic persists in the global economy, including the timing and extent to which CompX's and Kronos' customers' operations continue to be impacted, their customers' perception as to when consumer demand for their products will return to pre-pandemic levels and on any future disruptions in their operations or their suppliers' operations, all of which are difficult to predict.

The statements in this release relating to matters that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that represent management's beliefs and assumptions based on currently available information.  Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot give any assurances that these expectations will prove to be correct.  Such statements by their nature involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could significantly impact expected results, and actual future results could differ materially from those described in such forward-looking statements.  While it is not possible to identify all factors, we continue to face many risks and uncertainties.  Factors that could cause actual future results to differ materially include, but are not limited to:

  • Future supply and demand for our products
  • The extent of the dependence of certain of our businesses on certain market sectors
  • The cyclicality of our businesses (such as Kronos' TiO2 operations)
  • Customer and producer inventory levels
  • Unexpected or earlier-than-expected industry capacity expansion (such as the TiO2 industry)
  • Changes in raw material and other operating costs (such as energy, ore, zinc, aluminum, steel and brass costs) and our ability to pass those costs on to our customers or offset them with reductions in other operating costs
  • Changes in the availability of raw material (such as ore)
  • General global economic and political conditions that harm the worldwide economy, disrupt our supply chain, increase material costs or reduce demand or perceived demand for Kronos' TiO2 and our products or impair our ability to operate our facilities (including changes in the level of gross domestic product in various regions of the world, natural disasters, terrorist acts, global conflicts and public health crises such as COVID-19)
  • Competitive products and substitute products
  • Price and product competition from low-cost manufacturing sources (such as China)
  • Customer and competitor strategies
  • Potential consolidation of Kronos' competitors
  • Potential consolidation of Kronos' customers
  • The impact of pricing and production decisions
  • Competitive technology positions
  • Our ability to protect or defend intellectual property rights
  • Potential difficulties in integrating future acquisitions
  • Potential difficulties in upgrading or implementing accounting and manufacturing software systems
  • The introduction of trade barriers or trade disputes
  • The impact of current or future government regulations (including employee healthcare benefit related regulations)
  • Fluctuations in currency exchange rates (such as changes in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and each of the euro, the Norwegian krone and the Canadian dollar and between the euro and the Norwegian krone), or possible disruptions to our business resulting from uncertainties associated with the euro or other currencies
  • Operating interruptions (including, but not limited to, labor disputes, leaks, natural disasters, fires, explosions, unscheduled or unplanned downtime, transportation interruptions, cyber-attacks and public health crises such as COVID-19)
  • Decisions to sell operating assets other than in the ordinary course of business
  • Kronos' ability to renew or refinance credit facilities
  • Our ability to maintain sufficient liquidity
  • The timing and amounts of insurance recoveries
  • The ability of our subsidiaries or affiliates to pay us dividends
  • Uncertainties associated with CompX's development of new products and product features
  • The ultimate outcome of income tax audits, tax settlement initiatives or other tax matters, including future tax reform
  • Our ability to utilize income tax attributes or changes in income tax rates related to such attributes, the benefits of which may or may not have been recognized under the more-likely-than-not recognition criteria
  • Environmental matters (such as those requiring compliance with emission and discharge standards for existing and new facilities or new developments regarding environmental remediation at sites related to our former operations)
  • Government laws and regulations and possible changes therein (such as changes in government regulations which might impose various obligations on former manufacturers of lead pigment and lead-based paint, including us, with respect to asserted health concerns associated with the use of such products), including new environmental health and safety regulations such as those seeking to limit or classify TiO2 or its use
  • The ultimate resolution of pending litigation (such as our lead pigment and environmental matters)
  • Possible future litigation. 

Should one or more of these risks materialize (or the consequences of such a development worsen), or should the underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from those currently forecasted or expected.  We disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement whether as a result of changes in information, future events or otherwise. 

NL Industries, Inc. is engaged in the component products (security products and recreational marine components), chemicals (TiO2) and other businesses.


NL INDUSTRIES, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(In millions, except earnings per share)

  Three months ended     Year ended  
  December 31,     December 31,  
  2019     2020     2019     2020  
  (unaudited)                  
Net sales $ 29.6     $ 30.0     $ 124.2     $ 114.5  
Cost of sales   20.6       22.3       85.2       81.7  
                               
     Gross margin   9.0       7.7       39.0       32.8  
                               
Selling, general and administrative expense   5.5       5.4       21.3       21.0  
Other operating income (expense):                              
     Insurance recoveries   (.1 )     -       5.1       .1  
     Other income, net   3.0       -       7.4       -  
     Litigation settlement expense, net   -       -       (19.3 )     -  
     Corporate expense   (3.4 )     (2.1 )     (12.5 )     (9.5 )
                               
         Income (loss) from operations   3.0       .2       (1.6 )     2.4  
                               
Equity in earnings of Kronos Worldwide, Inc.   2.9       3.1       26.5       19.4  
                               
Other income (expense):                              
     Interest and dividend income   1.5       .5       6.7       2.6  
     Marketable equity securities   (.5 )     2.4       (.9 )     (8.7 )
     Other components of net periodic pension
       and OPEB cost
  (.1 )     (.2 )     (1.4 )     (.8 )
     Interest expense   (.4 )     (.3 )     (.7 )     (1.3 )
                               
         Income before income taxes   6.4       5.7       28.6       13.6  
                               
Income tax expense (benefit)   (.3 )     1.1       .6       (2.5 )
                               
         Net income   6.7       4.6       28.0       16.1  
                               
Noncontrolling interest in net income of subsidiary   .4       .3       2.2       1.4  
                               
Net income attributable to NL stockholders $ 6.3     $ 4.3     $ 25.8     $ 14.7  
                               
Net income per share attributable to
   NL stockholders
$ .13     $ .09     $ .53     $ .30  
                               
Weighted average shares used in the calculation                              
   of net income per share   48.8       48.8       48.7       48.8  


NL INDUSTRIES, INC.
COMPONENTS OF INCOME (LOSS) FROM OPERATIONS
(In millions)
(unaudited)

  Three months ended     Year ended  
  December 31,     December 31,  
  2019     2020     2019     2020  
                               
CompX - component products $ 3.5     $ 2.3     $ 17.7     $ 11.8  
Insurance recoveries   (.1 )     -       5.1       .1  
Other income, net   3.0       -       7.4       -  
Litigation settlement expense, net   -       -       (19.3 )     -  
Corporate expense   (3.4 )     (2.1 )     (12.5 )     (9.5 )
                               
      Income (loss) from operations $ 3.0     $ .2     $ (1.6 )   $ 2.4  

CHANGE IN KRONOS' TiO2 SALES
(unaudited)

  Three months ended   Year ended
  December 31,   December 31,
  2020 vs. 2019   2020 vs. 2019
                       
Percentage change in net sales:                      
      TiO2 sales volume     (3 ) %       (2 ) %
      TiO2 product pricing     12           (6 )  
      TiO2 product mix/other     (2 )         2    
      Changes in currency exchange rates     4           1    
                       
           Total     11   %       (5 ) %


SOURCE:  NL Industries, Inc.
CONTACT:  Janet G. Keckeisen, Vice President - Corporate Strategy and Investor Relations, 972.233.1700
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