<PAGE>

                                  UNITED STATES

                       SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

                             WASHINGTON, D. C. 20549




                                    FORM 8-K

                                 CURRENT REPORT

                     Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the

                         Securities Exchange Act of 1934





Date of Report(Date of earliest
  event reported)                                    July 9, 2001







                              ALBEMARLE CORPORATION
               --------------------------------------------------
               (Exact name of registrant as specified in charter)








       Virginia                       1-12658                    54-1692118
----------------------------       -------------            --------------------
(State or other jurisdiction       (Commission              (IRS Employer
 of incorporation)                  File Number)             Identification No.)






330 South Fourth Street, P. O. Box 1335, Richmond, Virginia             23218
-----------------------------------------------------------          ----------
(Address of principal executive offices)                             (Zip Code)


Registrant's telephone number, including area code - (804) 788-6000


Former name or former address, if changed since last report - N/A




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Item 5.  Other Events and Regulation FD Disclosures.

     On July 9, 2001, Albemarle Corporation issued the Press Release attached as
Exhibit 99 hereto.





Item 7.   Financial Statements and Exhibits.

     (c)      Exhibits

         Exhibit
         Number
         ------
          99         Press Release of Albemarle Corporation dated July 9, 2001.











Pursuant  to the  requirements  of the  Securities  Exchange  Act of  1934,  the
registrant  has duly  caused  this  report  to be  signed  on its  behalf by the
undersigned hereunto authorized.




Date: July 10, 2001                                Albemarle Corporation
                                                   ---------------------


                                                   /s/ Robert G. Kirchhoefer
                                                   ----------------------------
                                                   Robert G. Kirchhoefer
                                                   Treasurer & Chief Accounting
                                                    Officer




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Exhibit 99




                                                                 July 9, 2001

                                                                 Ray Kozakewicz
                                                                 225-388-7424
                                                                 Mike Zobrist
                                                                 225-388-8180

Albemarle Corporation Acquires
Custom and Fine Chemicals Businesses


         Richmond,  Virginia,  July 9, 2001 -- Albemarle Corporation  (NYSE:ALB)
announced the  completion of its  acquisition  of the custom and fine  chemicals
businesses of ChemFirst  Inc.(NYSE:CEM)  for $74 million,  plus approximately $5
million to reflect changes in the working capital  actually  transferred  versus
assumed working capital at December 31, 2000. The Asset Purchase  Agreement also
provides for additional  contingent payments to ChemFirst not expected to exceed
$10 million.
         John Steitz,  Vice President -- Fine Chemicals,  said: "The acquisition
creates strong synergies with our pharmachemicals and agrichemicals  businesses.
By joining our  businesses,  we now have an advanced  portfolio of products with
more chemistries,  faster time to market and additional customer  relationships.
Our goal is to dramatically populate our new products' pipeline for the future."
         Albemarle's  new  businesses  focus on the  manufacture  of custom  and
proprietary fine chemicals and chemical services for the pharmaceutical and life
sciences  industries.  They also include  additives for ultraviolet  light-cured
polymer  coatings,  broadening  the portfolio of Albemarle's  polymer  chemicals
business.  Included  is  a  multi-functional   manufacturing  plant  in  Tyrone,
Pennsylvania,  and a cGMP pilot plant in Dayton,  Ohio, adding the capability to
economically  offer  small-volume,  value-added  chemicals  and  versatile  cGMP
capacity,   complementing   Albemarle's  existing   large-volume   manufacturing
facilities.
         A global leader in specialty and fine chemicals  that enhance  consumer
products,  Albemarle  Corporation  serves markets for polymers,  surfactants and
biocides, pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, photographic chemicals, water
treatment and petroleum products.





Albemarle Cautionary Note on Forward Looking Statements
-------------------------------------------------------

Some of the information  contained in this release  constitutes  forward looking
statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of
1995.  Although  Albemarle  Corporation  believes its  expectations are based on
reasonable  assumptions  within the bounds of its  knowledge of its business and
operations,  there can be no  assurance  that  actual  results  will not  differ
materially  from its  expectations.  Factors which could cause actual results to
differ  from  expectations  include,  without  limitation,  the timing of orders
received from customers, the gain or loss of significant customers,  competition
from  other  manufacturers,  changes  in  demand  for  the  Company's  products,
increases  in the  cost  of the  product,  changes  in the  market  in  general,
fluctuations  in foreign  currencies  and  significant  changes  in new  product
introduction  resulting in an increase in capital project requests and approvals
leading to capital spending.

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