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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
________________________________________

FORM 10-K
________________________________________
Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

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 001-12658
ALBEMARLE CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Virginia54-1692118
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
4250 Congress Street, Suite 900
Charlotte, North Carolina 28209
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (980) - 299-5700
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading SymbolName of each exchange on which registered
COMMON STOCK, $.01 Par ValueALBNew York Stock Exchange
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes   No  
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 at least the past 90 days.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) 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 whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.



Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C.7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes   No  
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $8.2 billion based on the last reported sale price of common stock on June 30, 2020, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second quarter.
Number of shares of common stock outstanding as of February 12, 2021: 116,632,439
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Portions of Albemarle Corporation’s definitive Proxy Statement for its 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.



Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries
Index to Form 10-K
Year Ended December 31, 2020
Page



Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries
PART I

Item 1.Business.

Albemarle Corporation was incorporated in Virginia in 1993. Our principal executive offices are located at 4250 Congress Street, Suite 900, Charlotte, North Carolina 28209. Unless the context otherwise indicates, the terms “Albemarle,” “we,” “us,” “our” or “the Company” mean Albemarle Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries.
We are a leading global developer, manufacturer and marketer of highly-engineered specialty chemicals that are designed to meet our customers’ needs across a diverse range of end markets. We believe our purpose is making the world safe and sustainable by powering the potential of people. The end markets we serve include energy storage, petroleum refining, consumer electronics, construction, automotive, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, crop protection and custom chemistry services. We believe that our commercial and geographic diversity, technical expertise, innovative capability, flexible, low-cost global manufacturing base, experienced management team and strategic focus on our core base technologies will enable us to maintain leading positions in those areas of the specialty chemicals industry in which we operate.
We and our joint ventures currently operate more than 25 production and research and development (“R&D”) facilities, as well as a number of administrative and sales offices, around the world. As of December 31, 2020, we served approximately 2,300 customers, none of which individually represents more than 10% of net sales of the Company, in approximately 75 countries. For information regarding our unconsolidated joint ventures see Note 10, “Investments,” to our consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this report.
Business Segments
During 2020, we managed and reported our operations under three reportable segments: Lithium, Bromine Specialties and Catalysts. Each segment has a dedicated team of sales, research and development, process engineering, manufacturing and sourcing, and business strategy personnel and has full accountability for improving execution through greater asset efficiency, market focus, agility and responsiveness. Financial results and discussion about our segments included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are organized according to these categories except where noted.
For financial information regarding our reportable segments and geographic area information, see Note 25, “Segment and Geographic Area Information,” to our consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this report.
Lithium Segment
Our Lithium business develops lithium-based materials for a wide range of industries and end markets. We are a low-cost producer of one of the most diverse product portfolios of lithium derivatives in the industry.
We develop and manufacture a broad range of basic lithium compounds, including lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, lithium chloride, and value-added lithium specialties and reagents, including butyllithium and lithium aluminum hydride. Lithium is a key component in products and processes used in a variety of applications and industries, which include lithium batteries used in consumer electronics and electric vehicles, high performance greases, thermoplastic elastomers for car tires, rubber soles and plastic bottles, catalysts for chemical reactions, organic synthesis processes in the areas of steroid chemistry and vitamins, various life science applications, as well as intermediates in the pharmaceutical industry, among other applications. We also develop and manufacture cesium products for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, and zirconium, barium and titanium products for various pyrotechnical applications, including airbag initiators.
In addition to developing and supplying lithium compounds, we provide technical services, including the handling and use of reactive lithium products. We also offer our customers recycling services for lithium-containing by-products resulting from synthesis with organolithium products, lithium metal and other reagents. We plan to continue to focus on the development of new products and applications.
Competition
The global lithium market consists of producers primarily located in the Americas, Asia and Australia. Major competitors in lithium compounds include Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A., Sichuan Tianqi Lithium, Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium and Livent Corporation. In the cesium and other specialty metal business, key competitors include Sinomine and Sigma-Aldrich Corporation. Competition in the global lithium market is largely based on product quality, product diversity, reliability of supply and customer service.
3

Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries

Raw Materials and Significant Supply Contracts
We obtain lithium through solar evaporation of our ponds at the Salar de Atacama, in Chile, and in Silver Peak, Nevada, and by purchasing lithium concentrate from our 49%-owned joint venture, Windfield Holdings Pty. Ltd. (“Windfield”), which directly owns 100% of the equity of Talison Lithium Pty. Ltd., a company incorporated in Australia (“Talison”). In 2019, we completed the acquisition of a 60% interest in Mineral Resources Limited’s (“MRL”) Wodgina hard rock lithium mine project (“Wodgina Project”) in Western Australia and formed an unincorporated joint venture with MRL, named MARBL Lithium Joint Venture, for the exploration, development, mining, processing and production of lithium and other minerals (other than iron ore and tantalum) from the Wodgina Project and for the operation of the Kemerton lithium hydroxide conversion assets. Upon acquisition, we idled the MARBL Lithium Joint Venture’s production of spodumene, and we expect to keep the project idled until market demand supports bringing the mine back into production. In addition, we hold mineral rights in defined areas of King Mountain, NC with available lithium resources and we own undeveloped land with access to a lithium resource in Antofalla, within the Catamarca Province of Argentina. If necessary, we can also obtain lithium from other sources. See Item 2. Properties, for additional disclosures of our significant lithium mineral properties.
Bromine Specialties Segment
Our bromine and bromine-based business includes products used in fire safety solutions and other specialty chemicals applications. Our fire safety technology enables the use of plastics in high performance, high heat applications by enhancing the flame resistant properties of these materials. End market products that benefit from our fire safety technology include plastic enclosures for consumer electronics, printed circuit boards, wire and cable products, electrical connectors, textiles and foam insulation. Our bromine-based business also includes specialty chemicals products such as elemental bromine, alkyl bromides, inorganic bromides, brominated powdered activated carbon and a number of bromine fine chemicals. These specialty products are used in chemical synthesis, oil and gas well drilling and completion fluids, mercury control, water purification, beef and poultry processing and various other industrial applications. Other specialty chemicals that we produce include tertiary amines for surfactants, biocides, and disinfectants and sanitizers. A number of customers of our bromine business operate in cyclical industries, including the consumer electronics and oil field industries. As a result, demand from our customers in such industries is also cyclical.
Competition
Our bromine business serves markets in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, each of which is highly competitive. Product performance and quality, price and contract terms are the primary factors in determining which qualified supplier is awarded a contract. Research and development, product and process improvements, specialized customer services, the ability to attract and retain skilled personnel and maintenance of a good safety record have also been important factors to compete effectively in the marketplace. Our most significant competitors are Lanxess AG and Israel Chemicals Ltd.
Raw Materials and Significant Supply Contracts
The bromine we use is originally sourced from two locations: Arkansas and the Dead Sea. Our bromine production operations in Arkansas are supported by an active brine rights leasing program. In addition, through our 50% interest in Jordan Bromine Company Limited (“JBC”), a consolidated joint venture established in 1999, with operations in Safi, Jordan, we acquire bromine that is originally sourced from the Dead Sea. JBC processes the bromine at its facilities into a variety of end products. See Item 2. Properties, regarding additional disclosures for our Arkansas bromine mineral property.
Catalysts Segment
Our three main product lines in this segment are (i) Clean Fuels Technologies (“CFT”), which is primarily composed of hydroprocessing catalysts (“HPC”) together with isomerization and akylation catalysts; (ii) fluidized catalytic cracking (“FCC”) catalysts and additives; and (iii) performance catalyst solutions (“PCS”), which is primarily composed of organometallics and curatives.
We offer a wide range of HPC products, which are applied throughout the oil refining industry. Their application enables the upgrading of oil fractions to clean fuels and other usable oil feedstocks and products by removing sulfur, nitrogen and other impurities from the feedstock. In addition, they improve product properties by adding hydrogen and in some cases improve the performance of downstream catalysts and processes. We continuously seek to add more value to refinery operations by offering HPC products that meet our customers’ requirements for profitability and performance in the very demanding refining market.
We provide our customers with customized FCC catalyst systems, which assist in the high yield cracking of refinery petroleum streams into derivative, higher-value products such as transportation fuels and petrochemical feedstocks like
4

Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries
propylene. Our FCC additives are used to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide in FCC units and to increase liquefied petroleum gas olefins yield, such as propylene, and to boost octane in gasoline. Albemarle offers unique refinery catalysts to crack and treat the lightest to the heaviest feedstocks while meeting refinery yield and product needs.
Within our PCS product line, we manufacture organometallic co-catalysts (e.g., aluminum, magnesium and zinc alkyls) used in the manufacture of alpha-olefins (e.g., hexene, octene, decene), polyolefins (e.g., polyethylene and polypropylene) and electronics. Our curatives include a range of curing agents used in polyurethanes, epoxies and other engineered resins. As previously announced, we are pursuing opportunities to divest PCS.
There were more than 600 refineries world-wide in 2020. We expect to continue to see some less profitable, typically smaller, refineries shutting down and, over the long-term, be replaced by larger scale and more complex refineries, with growth concentrated in the Middle East and Asia. Oil refinery utilization was lower in 2020 compared to the previous year, with most refineries cutting throughput due to the reduction in demand resulting from global travel restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. We estimate that there are currently approximately 600 FCC units being operated globally, each of which requires a constant supply of FCC catalysts. In addition, we estimate that there are approximately 3,000 HPC units being operated globally, or a capacity of approximately 46 million barrels per day, each of which typically requires replacement HPC catalysts once every one to four years.
Competition
Our Catalysts segment serves the global market including the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, each of which is highly competitive. Competition in these markets is driven by a variety factors. Product performance and quality, price and contract terms, product and process improvements, specialized customer services, the ability to attract and retain skilled personnel, and the maintenance of a good safety record are the primary factors to compete effectively in the catalysts marketplace. In addition, through our research and development programs, we strive to differentiate our business by developing value-added products and products based on proprietary technologies.
Our major competitors in the CFT catalysts market include Shell Catalysts & Technologies, Advanced Refining Technologies and Haldor Topsoe. Our major competitors in the FCC catalysts market include W.R. Grace & Co., BASF Corporation and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec). In the PCS market, our major competitors include Nouryon, Lanxess AG and Lonza.
Raw Materials and Significant Supply Contracts
The major raw materials we use in our Catalysts operations include sodium silicate, sodium aluminate, kaolin, aluminum, ethylene, alpha-olefins, isobutylene, toluene and metals, such as lanthanum, molybdenum, nickel and cobalt, most of which are readily available from numerous independent suppliers and are purchased or provided under contracts at prices we believe are competitive. The cost of raw materials is generally based on market prices, although we may use contracts with price caps or other tools, as appropriate, to mitigate price volatility.
Human Capital
Our main human capital management objectives are to attract, retain and develop the highest quality talent and ensure they feel safe, supported and empowered to do the best work they can do. We believe providing a diverse, equal and inclusive workplace facilitates opportunities for innovation, fosters good decision making practices, and promotes employee engagement and high productivity across our organization.
As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately 5,900 employees, including employees of our consolidated joint ventures, of whom 2,800, or 47%, are employed in the U.S. and the Americas; 1,400, or 24%, are employed in Europe; 1,300, or 22%, are employed in Asia Pacific and 400, or 7%, are employed in the Middle East or other areas. Approximately 42% of these employees are represented by unions or works councils. We believe that we generally have a good relationship with our employees, and with those unions and works councils.
Health and Safety
The health and safety of our employees is a part of our core values at Albemarle and is integral to how we conduct business. Our employees, contractors, and visitors follow a comprehensive set of written health and safety policies and procedures at both the corporate and local site levels. We routinely audit ourselves against our policies, procedures and standards, using internal and third-party resources. We also include health and safety metrics in our annual incentive plan for all employees to incentivize our commitment to safety. In 2020, we improved our Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSHA”) occupational injury and illness incident rate to 0.26 for our employees and nested contractors, compared to 0.33 in 2019. In
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addition, we provide all employees and their dependents with access to our Employee Assistance Program which provides free mental and behavioral health resources.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Albemarle created a cross-functional Global Response Team, which has met biweekly since April 2020 to assess the situation and take necessary actions to address employee health and safety and operational challenges. Our first priority is always the health and well-being of our employees, customers, and communities. Since the start of the pandemic, our focus has shifted from managing an immediate crisis to building in the flexibility needed to adjust for regional differences and changing conditions. Protocols that include restricted travel, shift adjustments, increased hygiene, and social distancing for the essential workers at our plants have been put in place at all locations. In some regions, employees are able to return to their work sites. Other regions, including most of North and South America, remain on work-from-home protocols for non-essential personnel.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
In 2020, we hired a Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion, to accelerate our inclusion and diversity initiatives and deliver meaningful change in our global organization. Our primary focus in our recruiting efforts is to drive greater diversity in our workforce, including higher representation in the professional and managerial job categories. We want to ensure that our workplace reflects the communities in which we live and work. Our recruiting policy includes a requirement that we include individuals from gender or racial minority groups among those we interview for openings at the manager level and above.
We seek to provide employees with a desirable workplace that will enable us to attract and retain top talent. We believe employees should be compensated through wages and benefits, based on experience, expertise, performance, and the criticality of their roles in the Company. We also perform an annual review of our pay practices to ensure that they are fair and equitable, and not influenced by biased opinions or discrimination. In addition, we have established employee groups, known as Connect groups, to promote an atmosphere of inclusion and encouragement in which every employee’s voice can be heard. These Connect groups provide opportunities for employees to share their backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs, and to use them to benefit others through mentoring and volunteering in the local community, among other activities.
Investment in Talent
Investing in talent is a critical process for Albemarle because it allows us to be proactive and anticipate key organizational needs for talent and capabilities. This enables us to efficiently and effectively ensure that we have the right talent pipeline to drive Albemarle’s success into the future. We also provide leadership development through performance coaching, 360-degree feedback and experiential development and mentoring. Our leadership development is a cornerstone to our talent management strategy.
Sales, Marketing and Distribution
We have an international strategic account program that uses cross-functional teams to serve large global customers. This program emphasizes creative strategies to improve and strengthen strategic customer relationships with emphasis on creating value for customers and promoting post-sale service. Complementing this program are regional Albemarle sales and technical personnel around the world who serve numerous additional customers globally. We also utilize commissioned sales representatives and specialists in specific market areas when necessary or required by law.
Research and Development
We believe that in order to generate revenue growth, maintain our margins and remain competitive, we must continually invest in research and development, product and process improvements and specialized customer services. Our research and development efforts support each of our business segments. The objective of our research and development efforts is to develop innovative chemistries and technologies with applications relevant within targeted key markets through both process and new product development. Through research and development, we continue to seek increased margins by introducing value-added products and proprietary processes and innovative green chemistry technologies. Our green chemistry efforts focus on the development of products in a manner that minimizes waste and the use of raw materials and energy, avoids the use of toxic reagents and solvents and utilizes safe, environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. Green chemistry is encouraged with our researchers through periodic focus group discussions and special rewards and recognition for outstanding new green developments.
Intellectual Property
Our intellectual property, including our patents, licenses and trade names, is an important component of our business. As of December 31, 2020, we owned approximately 2,100 active patents and approximately 550 pending patent applications in key
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strategic markets worldwide. We also have acquired rights under patents and inventions of others through licenses, and we license certain patents and inventions to third parties.
Regulation
Our business is subject to a broad array of employee health and safety laws and regulations, including those under the OSHA. We also are subject to similar state laws and regulations as well as local laws and regulations for our non-U.S. operations. We devote significant resources and have developed and implemented comprehensive programs to promote the health and safety of our employees and we maintain an active health, safety and environmental program. As noted above, we finished 2020 with an OSHA occupational injury and illness incident rate of 0.26 for Albemarle employees and nested contractors, compared to 0.33 in 2019.
Our business and our customers are subject to significant requirements under the European Community Regulation for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (“REACH”). REACH imposes obligations on European Union manufacturers and importers of chemicals and other products into the European Union to compile and file comprehensive reports, including testing data, on each chemical substance, and perform chemical safety assessments. Additionally, substances of high concern, as defined under REACH, are subject to an authorization process. Authorization may result in restrictions in the use of products by application or even banning the product. REACH regulations impose significant additional responsibilities on chemical producers, importers, downstream users of chemical substances and preparations, and the entire supply chain. Our significant manufacturing presence and sales activities in the European Union require significant compliance costs and may result in increases in the costs of raw materials we purchase and the products we sell. Increases in the costs of our products could result in a decrease in their overall demand; additionally, customers may seek products with lower regulatory compliance requirements, which could also result in a decrease in the demand of certain products subject to the REACH regulations.
The Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”), as amended in June 2016, requires chemicals to be assessed against a risk-based safety standard and calling for the elimination of unreasonable risks identified during risk evaluation. This regulation and other pending initiatives at the U.S. state level, as well as initiatives in Canada, Asia and other regions, will potentially require toxicological testing and risk assessments of a wide variety of chemicals, including chemicals used or produced by us. These assessments may result in heightened concerns about the chemicals involved and additional requirements being placed on the production, handling, labeling or use of the subject chemicals. Such concerns and additional requirements could also increase the cost incurred by our customers to use our chemical products and otherwise limit the use of these products, which could lead to a decrease in demand for these products.
Historically, there has been scrutiny of certain brominated flame retardants by regulatory authorities, legislative bodies and environmental interest groups in various countries. We manufacture a broad range of brominated flame retardant products, which are used in a variety of applications. Concern about the impact of some of our products on human health or the environment may lead to regulation or reaction in our markets independent of regulation.
Environmental Regulation
We are subject to numerous foreign, federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations, including those governing the discharge of pollutants into the air and water, the management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes and the cleanup of contaminated properties. Ongoing compliance with such laws and regulations is an important consideration for us. Key aspects of our operations are subject to these laws and regulations. In addition, we incur substantial capital and operating costs in our efforts to comply with them.
We use and generate hazardous substances and wastes in our operations and may become subject to claims for personal injury and/or property damage relating to the release of such substances into the environment. In addition, some of our current properties are, or have been, used for industrial purposes, which could contain currently unknown contamination that could expose us to governmental requirements or claims relating to environmental remediation, personal injury and/or property damage. Liabilities associated with the investigation and cleanup of hazardous substances, as well as personal injury, property damages or natural resource damages arising from the release of, or exposure to, such hazardous substances, may be imposed in many situations without regard to violations of laws or regulations or other fault, and may also be imposed jointly and severally (so that a responsible party may be held liable for more than its share of the losses involved, or even the entire loss). Such liabilities also may be imposed on many different entities with a relationship to the hazardous substances at issue, including, for example, entities that formerly owned or operated the property affected by the hazardous substances and entities that arranged for the disposal of the hazardous substances at the affected property, as well as entities that currently own or operate such property. We are subject to such laws, including the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, commonly known as CERCLA or Superfund, in the U.S., and similar foreign and state laws. We may have
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liability as a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) with respect to active off-site locations under CERCLA or state equivalents. We have sought to resolve our liability as a PRP at these sites through indemnification by third parties and settlements, which would provide for payment of our allocable share of remediation costs. Because the cleanup costs are estimates and are subject to revision as more information becomes available about the extent of remediation required, and in some cases we have asserted a defense to any liability, our estimates could change. Moreover, liability under CERCLA and equivalent state statutes may be joint and several, which could require us to pay in excess of our pro rata share of remediation costs. Our understanding of the financial strength of other PRPs has been considered, where appropriate, in estimating our liabilities. Accruals for these matters are included in the environmental reserve. Our management is actively involved in evaluating environmental matters and, based on information currently available to us, we have concluded that our outstanding environmental liabilities for unresolved waste sites currently known to us should not have a material effect on our operations.
See “Safety and Environmental Matters” in Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations for further details.
Climate Change
The growing concerns about climate change and the related increasingly stringent regulations may provide us with new or expanded business opportunities. We provide solutions to companies pursuing alternative fuel products and technologies (such as renewable fuels), emission control technologies (including mercury emissions), alternative transportation vehicles and energy storage technologies and other similar solutions. As demand for, and legislation mandating or incentivizing the use of, alternative fuel technologies that limit or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions increase, we continue to monitor the market and offer solutions where we have appropriate technology and believe we are well positioned to take advantage of opportunities that may arise from such demand or legislation.
Recent Acquisitions, Joint Ventures and Divestitures
During recent years, we have devoted resources to acquisitions and joint ventures, including the subsequent integration of acquired businesses. These acquisitions and joint ventures have expanded our base business, provided our customers with a wider array of products and presented new alternatives for discovery through additional chemistries. In addition, we have pursued opportunities to divest businesses which do not fit our high priority business growth profile. Following is a summary of our significant acquisitions, joint ventures and divestitures over the last three years.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, we divested our ownership interest in the Saudi Organometallic Chemicals Company LLC (“SOCC”) joint venture for cash proceeds of $11.0 million. As a result of this divestiture, the Company recorded a gain of $7.2 million in Other expenses, net during the year ended December 31, 2020.
On October 31, 2019, we completed the acquisition of a 60% interest in MRL’s Wodgina Project in Western Australia for a total purchase price of approximately $1.3 billion. As part of this acquisition, we formed MARBL, an unincorporated joint venture with MRL, for the exploration, development, mining, processing and production of lithium and other minerals (other than iron ore and tantalum) from the Wodgina Project and for the operation of the Kemerton assets.
On April 3, 2018, we completed the sale of the polyolefin catalysts and components portion of the PCS business (“Polyolefin Catalysts Divestiture”) to W.R. Grace & Co. for net cash proceeds of approximately $413.6 million. The sale did not include the organometallics or curatives portion of the PCS business.
These transactions reflect our commitment to investing in future growth of our high priority businesses, maintaining leverage flexibility and returning capital to our shareholders.
Available Information
Our website address is www.albemarle.com. We make available free of charge through our website our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”), as well as beneficial ownership reports on Forms 3, 4 and 5 filed pursuant to Section 16 of the Exchange Act, as soon as reasonably practicable after such documents are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The information on our website is not, and shall not be deemed to be, a part of this report or incorporated into any other filings we make with the SEC. The SEC also maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy statements and other information regarding SEC registrants, including Albemarle.
Our Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Conduct and the charters of the Audit and Finance, Health, Safety and Environment, Executive Compensation, and Nominating and Governance Committees of our Board of Directors are also
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available on our website and are available in print to any shareholder upon request by writing to Investor Relations, 4250 Congress Street, Suite 900, Charlotte, North Carolina 28209, or by calling (980) 299-5700.

Item 1A.Risk Factors.
You should consider carefully the following risks when reading the information, including the financial information, contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Risks Related to Our Business
Our substantial international operations subject us to risks of doing business in foreign countries, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We conduct a substantial portion of our business outside the U.S., with approximately 76% of our sales to foreign countries. We operate and/or sell our products to customers in approximately 75 countries. We currently have many production facilities, research and development and administrative facilities, as well as sales offices located outside the U.S., as detailed in Item 2. Properties. Accordingly, our business is subject to risks related to the differing legal, political, social and regulatory requirements and economic conditions of many jurisdictions. Risks inherent in international operations include the following:
fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates may affect product demand and may adversely affect the profitability in U.S. dollars of products and services we provide in international markets where payment for our products and services is made in the local currency;
transportation and other shipping costs may increase, or transportation may be inhibited;
increased cost or decreased availability of raw materials;
changes in foreign laws and tax rates or U.S. laws and tax rates with respect to foreign income may unexpectedly increase the rate at which our income is taxed, impose new and additional taxes on remittances, repatriation or other payments by subsidiaries, or cause the loss of previously recorded tax benefits;
foreign countries in which we do business may adopt other restrictions on foreign trade or investment, including currency exchange controls;
trade sanctions by or against these countries could result in our losing access to customers and suppliers in those countries;
unexpected adverse changes in foreign laws or regulatory requirements may occur;
our agreements with counterparties in foreign countries may be difficult for us to enforce and related receivables may be difficult for us to collect;
compliance with the variety of foreign laws and regulations may be unduly burdensome;
compliance with anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws (such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) as well as anti-money-laundering laws may be costly;
unexpected adverse changes in export duties, quotas and tariffs and difficulties in obtaining export licenses may occur;
general economic conditions in the countries in which we operate could have an adverse effect on our earnings from operations in those countries;
our foreign operations may experience staffing difficulties and labor disputes;
termination or substantial modification of international trade agreements may adversely affect our access to raw materials and to markets for our products outside the U.S.;
foreign governments may nationalize or expropriate private enterprises;
increased sovereign risk (such as default by or deterioration in the economies and credit worthiness of local governments) may occur; and
political or economic repercussions from terrorist activities, including the possibility of hyperinflationary conditions and political instability, may occur in certain countries in which we do business.
In addition, certain of our operations, and we have ongoing capital projects, in regions of the world such as the Middle East and South America, that are of high risk due to significant civil, political and security instability. Unanticipated events, such as geopolitical changes, could result in a write-down of our investment in the affected joint venture or a delay or cause cancellation of those capital projects, which could negatively impact our future growth and profitability. Our success as a global business will depend, in part, upon our ability to succeed in differing legal, regulatory, economic, social and political conditions by developing, implementing and maintaining policies and strategies that are effective in each location where we and our joint ventures do business.
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Furthermore, we are subject to rules and regulations related to anti-bribery and anti-trust prohibitions of the U.S. and other countries, as well as export controls and economic embargoes, violations of which may carry substantial penalties. For example, export control and economic embargo regulations limit the ability of our subsidiaries to market, sell, distribute or otherwise transfer their products or technology to prohibited countries or persons. Failure to comply with these regulations could subject our subsidiaries to fines, enforcement actions and/or have an adverse effect on our reputation and the value of our common stock.
Our inability to secure key raw materials, or to pass through increases in costs and expenses for other raw materials and energy, on a timely basis or at all, could have an adverse effect on the margins of our products and our results of operations.
The long-term profitability of our operations will, in part, depend on our ability to continue to economically obtain resources, including energy and raw materials. For example, our lithium and bromine businesses rely upon our continued ability to produce, or otherwise obtain, lithium and bromine of sufficient quality and in adequate amounts to meet our customers’ demand. If we fail to secure and retain the rights to continue to access these key raw materials, we may have to restrict or suspend our operations that rely upon these key resources, which could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, in some cases access to these raw materials by us and our competitors is subject to decisions or actions by governmental authorities, which could adversely impact us. Furthermore, other raw material and energy costs account for a significant percentage of our total costs of products sold, even if they can be obtained on commercially reasonable terms. Our raw material and energy costs can be volatile and may increase significantly. Increases are primarily driven by tightening of market conditions and major increases in the pricing of key constituent materials for our products such as crude oil, chlorine and metals (including molybdenum and rare earths which are used in the refinery catalysts business). We generally attempt to pass through changes in the prices of raw materials and energy to our customers, but we may be unable to do so (or may be delayed in doing so). In addition, raising prices we charge to our customers in order to offset increases in the prices we pay for raw materials could cause us to suffer a loss of sales volumes. Our inability to efficiently and effectively pass through price increases, or inventory impacts resulting from price volatility, could adversely affect our margins.
Competition within our industry may place downward pressure on the prices and margins of our products and may adversely affect our businesses and results of operations.
We compete against a number of highly competitive global specialty chemical producers. Competition is based on several key criteria, including product performance and quality, product price, product availability and security of supply, and responsiveness of product development in cooperation with customers and customer service. Some of our competitors are larger than we are and may have greater financial resources. These competitors may also be able to maintain significantly greater operating and financial flexibility. As a result, these competitors may be better able to withstand changes in conditions within our industry. Competitors’ pricing decisions could compel us to decrease our prices, which could negatively affect our margins and profitability. Our ability to maintain or increase our profitability is, and will continue to be, dependent upon our ability to offset decreases in the prices and margins of our products by improving production efficiency and volume and other productivity enhancements, shifting to production of higher margin chemical products and improving existing products through innovation and research and development. If we are unable to do so or to otherwise maintain our competitive position, we could lose market share to our competitors.
In addition, Albemarle’s brands, product image and trademarks represent the unique product identity of each of our products and are important symbols of the Company’s reputation. Accordingly, the performance of our business could be adversely affected by any marketing and promotional materials used by our competitors that make adverse claims, whether with or without merit, against our Company or its products, imply or assert immoral or improper conduct by us, or are otherwise disparaging of our Company or its products. Further, our own actions could hurt such brands, product image and trademarks if our products underperform or we otherwise draw negative publicity.
Our research and development efforts may not succeed in addressing changes in our customers’ needs, and our competitors may develop more effective or successful products.
Our industries and the end markets into which we sell our products experience technological change and product improvement. Manufacturers periodically introduce new products or require new technological capacity to develop customized products. Our future growth depends on our ability to gauge the direction of the commercial and technological progress in all key end markets in which we sell our products and upon our ability to fund and successfully develop, manufacture and market products in such changing end markets. As a result, we must commit substantial resources each year to research and development. There is no assurance that we will be able to continue to identify, develop, market and, in certain cases, secure regulatory approval for, innovative products in a timely manner or at all, as may be required to replace or enhance existing products, and any such inability could have a material adverse effect on our profit margins and our competitive position.
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In addition, our customers use our specialty chemicals for a broad range of applications. Changes in our customers’ products or processes may enable our customers to reduce consumption of the specialty chemicals that we produce or make our specialty chemicals unnecessary. Customers may also find alternative materials or processes that do not require our products. Should a customer decide to use a different material due to price, performance or other considerations, we may not be able to supply a product that meets the customer’s new requirements. Consequently, it is important that we develop new products to replace the sales of products that mature and decline in use. Our business, results of operations, cash flows and margins could be materially adversely affected if we are unable to manage successfully the maturation of our existing products and the introduction of new products.
Despite our efforts, we may not be successful in developing new products and/or technology, either alone or with third parties, or licensing intellectual property rights from third parties on a commercially competitive basis. Our new products may not be accepted by our customers or may fail to receive regulatory approval. Moreover, new products may have lower margins than the products they replace. Furthermore, ongoing investments in research and development for the future do not yield an immediate beneficial impact on our operating results and therefore could result in higher costs without a proportional increase in revenues.
The development of non-lithium battery technologies could adversely affect us.
The development and adoption of new battery technologies that rely on inputs other than lithium compounds, could significantly impact our prospects and future revenues. Current and next generation high energy density batteries for use in electric vehicles rely on lithium compounds as a critical input. Alternative materials and technologies are being researched with the goal of making batteries lighter, more efficient, faster charging and less expensive, and some of these could be less reliant on lithium compounds. We cannot predict which new technologies may ultimately prove to be commercially viable and on what time horizon. Commercialized battery technologies that use no, or significantly less, lithium could materially and adversely impact our prospects and future revenues.
Adverse conditions in the economy, and volatility and disruption of financial markets can negatively impact our customers, suppliers and other business partners and therefore have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
A global, regional or localized economic downturn may reduce customer demand or inhibit our ability to produce our products, negatively impacting our operating results. Our business and operating results have been and will continue to be sensitive to the many challenges that can affect national, regional and global economies, including economic downturns (including credit market tightness, which can impact our liquidity as well as that of our customers, suppliers and other business partners), declining consumer and business confidence, fluctuating commodity prices and volatile exchange rates. Our customers may experience deterioration of their businesses, cash flow shortages and difficulty obtaining financing, leading them to delay or cancel plans to purchase products, and they may not be able to fulfill their obligations in a timely fashion. Further, suppliers and other business partners may experience similar conditions, which could impact their ability to fulfill their obligations to us. Also, it could be difficult to find replacements for business partners without incurring significant delays or cost increases.
Downturns in our customers’ industries could adversely affect our sales and profitability.
Downturns in the businesses that use our specialty chemicals may adversely affect our sales. Many of our customers are in industries, including the electronics, building and construction, oilfield and automotive industries, which are cyclical in nature, or which are subject to secular market downturns. Historically, cyclical or secular industry downturns have resulted in diminished demand for our products, excess manufacturing capacity and lower average selling prices, and we may experience similar problems in the future. A decline in our customers’ industries may have a material adverse effect on our sales and profitability.
Our results are subject to fluctuation because of irregularities in the demand for our HPC catalysts and certain of our agrichemicals.
Our HPC catalysts are used by petroleum refiners in their processing units to reduce the quantity of sulfur and other impurities in petroleum products. The effectiveness of HPC catalysts diminishes with use, requiring the HPC catalysts to be replaced, on average, once every one to four years. The sales of our HPC catalysts, therefore, are largely dependent on the useful life cycle of the HPC catalysts in the processing units and may vary materially by quarter. In addition, the timing and profitability of HPC catalysts sales can have a significant impact on revenue and profit in any one quarter. Sales of our agrichemicals are also subject to fluctuation as demand varies depending on climate and other environmental conditions, which may prevent or reduce farming for extended periods. In addition, crop pricing and the timing of when farms alternate from one crop to another crop in a particular year can also alter sales of agrichemicals.
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Regulation, or the threat of regulation, of some of our products could have an adverse effect on our sales and profitability.
We manufacture or market a number of products that are or have been the subject of attention by regulatory authorities and environmental interest groups. For example, over the past decade, there has been increasing scrutiny of certain brominated flame retardants by regulatory authorities, legislative bodies and environmental interest groups in various countries. We manufacture a broad range of brominated flame retardant products, which are used in a variety of applications to protect people, property and the environment from injury and damage caused by fire. Concern about the impact of some of our products on human health or the environment may lead to regulation, or reaction in our markets independent of regulation, that could reduce or eliminate markets for such products.
Agencies in the European Union (“E.U.”) continue to evaluate the risks to human health and the environment associated with certain brominated flame retardants such as tetrabromobisphenol A and decabromodiphenylethane, both of which we manufacture. Additional government regulations, including limitations or bans on the use of brominated flame retardants, could result in a decline in our net sales of brominated flame retardants and have an adverse effect on our sales and profitability. In addition, the threat of additional regulation or concern about the impact of brominated flame retardants on human health or the environment could lead to a negative reaction in our markets that could reduce or eliminate our markets for these products, which could have an adverse effect on our sales and profitability.
Our business and our customers are subject to significant requirements under REACH, which imposes obligations on E.U. manufacturers and importers of chemicals and other products into the E.U. to compile and file comprehensive reports, including testing data, on each chemical substance, and perform chemical safety assessments. Additionally, substances of high concern, as defined under REACH, are subject to an authorization process, which may result in restrictions in the use of products by application or even banning the product. REACH regulations impose significant additional burdens on chemical producers, importers, downstream users of chemical substances and preparations, and the entire supply chain. See “Regulation” in Item 1. Business. Our significant manufacturing presence and sales activities in the E.U. requires significant compliance costs and may result in increases in the costs of raw materials we purchase and the products we sell. Increases in the costs of our products could result in a decrease in their overall demand; additionally, customers may seek products with lower regulatory compliance requirements, which could also result in a decrease in the demand of certain products subject to the REACH regulations.
The TSCA requires chemicals to be assessed against a risk-based safety standard and calling for the elimination of unreasonable risks identified during risk evaluation. This regulation and other pending initiatives at the U.S. state level, as well as initiatives in Canada, Asia and other regions, could potentially require toxicological testing and risk assessments of a wide variety of chemicals, including chemicals used or produced by us. These assessments may result in heightened concerns about the chemicals involved and additional requirements being placed on the production, handling, labeling or use of the subject chemicals. Such concerns and additional requirements could also increase the cost incurred by our customers to use our chemical products and otherwise limit the use of these products, which could lead to a decrease in demand for these products. Such a decrease in demand could have an adverse impact on our business and results of operations.
We could be subject to damages based on claims brought against us by our customers or lose customers as a result of the failure of our products to meet certain quality specifications.
Our products provide important performance attributes to our customers’ products. If a product fails to perform in a manner consistent with quality specifications or has a shorter useful life than guaranteed, a customer of ours could seek the replacement of the product or damages for costs incurred as a result of the product failing to perform as guaranteed. These risks apply to our refinery catalysts in particular because, in certain instances, we sell our refinery catalysts under agreements that contain limited performance and life cycle guarantees. Also, because many of our products are integrated into our customers’ products, we may be requested to participate in, or fund in whole or in part the costs of, a product recall conducted by a customer. For example, some of our businesses supply products to customers in the automotive industry. In the event one of these customers conducts a product recall that it believes is related to one of our products, we may be asked to participate in, or fund in whole or in part, such a recall.
Our customers often require our subsidiaries to represent that our products conform to certain product specifications provided by our customers. Any failure to comply with such specifications could result in claims or legal action against us. 
A successful claim or series of claims against us could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations and could result in our loss of one or more customers.
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Our business is subject to hazards common to chemical and natural resource extraction businesses, any of which could injure our employees or other persons, damage our facilities or other properties, interrupt our production and adversely affect our reputation and results of operations.
Our business is subject to hazards common to chemical manufacturing, storage, handling and transportation, as well as natural resource extraction, including explosions, fires, severe weather, natural disasters, mechanical failure, unscheduled downtime, transportation interruptions, remediation, chemical spills, discharges or releases of toxic or hazardous substances or gases and other risks. These hazards can cause personal injury and loss of life to our employees and other persons, severe damage to, or destruction of, property and equipment and environmental contamination. In addition, the occurrence of disruptions, shutdowns or other material operating problems at our facilities due to any of these hazards may diminish our ability to meet our output goals. Accordingly, these hazards and their consequences could adversely affect our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our operations as a whole, including our results of operations and cash flows, both during and after the period of operational difficulties.
Our business could be adversely affected by environmental, health and safety laws and regulations.
The nature of our business, including historical operations at our current and former facilities, exposes us to risks of liability under environmental laws and regulations due to the production, storage, use, transportation and sale of materials that can cause contamination or personal injury if released into the environment. In the jurisdictions in which we operate, we are subject to numerous U.S. and non-U.S. national, federal, state and local environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, including those governing the discharge of pollutants into the air and water, the management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes and the cleanup of contaminated properties. We currently use, and in the past have used, hazardous substances at many of our facilities, and we have in the past been, and may in the future be, subject to claims relating to exposure to hazardous materials. We also have generated, and continue to generate, hazardous wastes at a number of our facilities. Some of our facilities also have lengthy histories of manufacturing or other activities that may have resulted in site contamination. Liabilities associated with the investigation and cleanup of hazardous substances, as well as personal injury, property damages or natural resource damages arising from the release of, or exposure to, such hazardous substances, may be imposed in many situations without regard to violations of laws or regulations or other fault, and may also be imposed jointly and severally (so that a responsible party may be held liable for more than its share of the losses involved, or even the entire loss). Such liabilities may also be imposed on many different entities, including, for example, current and prior property owners or operators, as well as entities that arranged for the disposal of the hazardous substances. Such liabilities may be material and can be difficult to identify or quantify.
Further, some of the raw materials we handle are subject to government regulation. These regulations affect the manufacturing processes, handling, uses and applications of our products. In addition, our production facilities and a number of our distribution centers require numerous operating permits. Due to the nature of these requirements and changes in our operations, our operations may exceed limits under permits or we may not have the proper permits to conduct our operations. Ongoing compliance with such laws, regulations and permits is an important consideration for us and we incur substantial capital and operating costs in our compliance efforts.
Compliance with environmental laws generally increases the costs of manufacturing, registration/approval requirements, transportation and storage of raw materials and finished products, and storage and disposal of wastes, and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. We may incur substantial costs, including fines, damages, criminal or civil sanctions and remediation costs, or experience interruptions in our operations, for violations arising under these laws or permit requirements. Additional information may arise in the future concerning the nature or extent of our liability with respect to identified sites, and additional sites may be identified for which we are alleged to be liable, that could cause us to materially increase our environmental accrual or the upper range of the costs we believe we could reasonably incur for such matters. Furthermore, environmental laws are subject to change and have become increasingly stringent in recent years. We expect this trend to continue and to require materially increased capital expenditures and operating and compliance costs.
We may be subject to indemnity claims and liable for other payments relating to properties or businesses we have divested. 
In connection with the sale of certain properties and businesses, we have agreed to indemnify the purchasers of such properties for certain types of matters, such as certain breaches of representations and warranties, taxes and certain environmental matters. With respect to environmental matters, the discovery of contamination arising from properties that we have divested may expose us to indemnity obligations under the sale agreements with the buyers of such properties or cleanup obligations and other damages under applicable environmental laws. We may not have insurance coverage for such indemnity obligations or cash flows to make such indemnity or other payments. Further, we cannot predict the nature of and the amount of any indemnity or other obligations we may have to the applicable purchaser. Such payments may be costly and may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
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At several of our properties where hazardous substances are known to exist (including some sites where hazardous substances are being investigated or remediated), we believe we are entitled to contractual indemnification from one or more former owners or operators; however, in the event we make a claim, the indemnifier may disagree with us regarding, or not have the financial capacity to fulfill, its indemnity obligation. If our contractual indemnity is not upheld or effective, our accrual and/or our costs for the investigation and cleanup of hazardous substances could increase materially.
We could be adversely affected by violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar foreign anti-corruption laws.
The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”) and similar foreign anti-corruption laws in other jurisdictions around the world generally prohibit companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments or providing anything of value to non-U.S. government officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business or securing an unfair advantage. We operate in some parts of the world that have experienced governmental corruption to some degree, and, in certain circumstances, strict compliance with anti-bribery laws may conflict with local customs and practices. Although we have established formal policies or procedures for prohibiting or monitoring this conduct, we cannot assure you that our employees or other agents will not engage in such conduct for which we might be held responsible. In the event that we believe or have reason to believe that our employees, agents or distributors have or may have violated applicable anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA, we may be required to investigate or have outside counsel investigate the relevant facts and circumstances, which can be expensive and require significant time and attention from senior management. If we are found to be liable for violations of the FCPA or other applicable anti-corruption laws (either due to our own acts or our inadvertence, or due to the acts or inadvertence of others, including employees of our joint ventures), we could suffer from civil and criminal penalties or other sanctions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
As first reported in 2018, following receipt of information regarding potential improper payments being made by third party sales representatives of our Refining Solutions business, within our Catalysts segment, we promptly retained outside counsel and forensic accountants to investigate potential violations of the Company’s Code of Conduct, the FCPA, and other potentially applicable laws. Based on this internal investigation, we have voluntarily self-reported potential issues relating to the use of third party sales representatives in our Refining Solutions business, within our Catalysts segment, to the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the SEC, and Dutch Public Prosecutor (“DPP”), and are cooperating with the DOJ, the SEC, and the DPP in their review of these matters. In connection with our internal investigation, we have implemented, and are continuing to implement, appropriate remedial measures.
At this time, we are unable to predict the duration, scope, result or related costs associated with the investigations by the DOJ, the SEC, or DPP. We also are unable to predict what, if any, action may be taken by the DOJ, the SEC, or DPP, or what penalties or remedial actions they may seek. Any determination that our operations or activities are not in compliance with existing laws or regulations could result in the imposition of fines, penalties, disgorgement, equitable relief, or other losses.
We are subject to extensive foreign government regulation that can negatively impact our business.
We are subject to government regulation in non-U.S. jurisdictions in which we conduct our business. The requirements for compliance with these laws and regulations may be unclear or indeterminate and may involve significant costs, including additional capital expenditures or increased operating expenses, or require changes in business practice, in each case that could result in reduced profitability for our business. Our having to comply with these foreign laws or regulations may provide a competitive advantage to competitors who are not subject to comparable restrictions or prevent us from taking advantage of growth opportunities. Determination of noncompliance can result in penalties or sanctions that could also adversely impact our operating results and financial condition.
Our inability to protect our intellectual property rights could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Protection of our proprietary processes, methods and compounds and other technology is important to our business. We generally rely on patent, trade secret, trademark and copyright laws of the U.S. and certain other countries in which our products are produced or sold, as well as licenses and nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements, to protect our intellectual property rights. The patent, trade secret, trademark and copyright laws of some countries, or their enforcement, may not protect our intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the U.S. Failure to protect our intellectual property rights may result in the loss of valuable proprietary technologies. Additionally, some of our technologies are not covered by any patent or patent application and, even if a patent application has been filed, it may not result in an issued patent. If patents are issued to us, those patents may not provide meaningful protection against competitors or against competitive technologies. We cannot assure you that our intellectual property rights will not be challenged, invalidated, circumvented or rendered unenforceable.
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We also conduct research and development activities with third parties and license certain intellectual property rights from third parties and we plan to continue to do so in the future. We endeavor to license or otherwise obtain intellectual property rights on terms favorable to us. However, we may not be able to license or otherwise obtain intellectual property rights on such terms or at all. Our inability to license or otherwise obtain such intellectual property rights could have a material adverse effect on our ability to create a competitive advantage and create innovative solutions for our customers, which will adversely affect our net sales and our relationships with our customers.
We could face patent infringement claims from our competitors or others alleging that our processes or products infringe on their proprietary technologies. If we are found to be infringing on the proprietary technology of others, we may be liable for damages and we may be required to change our processes, redesign our products partially or completely, pay to use the technology of others, stop using certain technologies or stop producing the infringing product entirely. Even if we ultimately prevail in an infringement suit, the existence of the suit could prompt customers to switch to products that are not the subject of infringement suits. We may not prevail in intellectual property litigation and such litigation may result in significant legal costs or otherwise impede our ability to produce and distribute key products.
We also rely upon unpatented proprietary manufacturing expertise, continuing technological innovation and other trade secrets to develop and maintain our competitive position. While we generally enter into confidentiality agreements with our employees and third parties to protect our intellectual property, we cannot assure you that our confidentiality agreements will not be breached, that they will provide meaningful protection for our trade secrets and proprietary manufacturing expertise or that adequate remedies will be available in the event of an unauthorized use or disclosure of our trade secrets or manufacturing expertise. In addition, our trade secrets and know-how may be improperly obtained by other means, such as a breach of our information technologies security systems or direct theft.
Our inability to acquire or develop additional reserves that are economically viable could have a material adverse effect on our future profitability.
Our lithium reserves will, without more, decline as we continue to extract these raw materials. Accordingly, our future profitability depends upon our ability to acquire additional lithium reserves that are economically viable to replace the reserves we will extract. Exploration and development of lithium resources are highly speculative in nature. Exploration projects involve many risks, require substantial expenditures and may not result in the discovery of sufficient additional resources that can be extracted profitably. Once a site with potential resources is discovered, it may take several years of development until production is possible, during which time the economic viability of production may change. Substantial expenditures are required to establish recoverable proven and probable reserves and to construct extraction and production facilities. As a result, there is no assurance that current or future exploration programs will be successful and there is a risk that depletion of reserves will not be offset by discoveries or acquisitions.
We utilize feasibility studies to estimate the anticipated economic returns of an exploration project. The actual project profitability or economic feasibility may differ from such estimates as a result of factors such as, but not limited to, changes in volumes, grades and characteristics of resources to be mined and processed; changes in labor costs or availability of adequate and skilled labor force; the quality of the data on which engineering assumptions were made; adverse geotechnical conditions; availability, supply and cost of water and power; fluctuations in inflation and currency exchange rates; delays in obtaining environmental or other government permits or approvals or changes in the laws and regulations related to our operations or project development; changes in royalty agreements, laws and/or regulations around royalties and other taxes; and weather or severe climate impacts.
For our existing operations, we utilize geological and metallurgical assumptions, financial projections and price estimates. These estimates are periodically updated to reflect changes in our operations, including modifications to our proven and probable reserves and mineralized material, revisions to environmental obligations, changes in legislation and/or social, political or economic environment, and other significant events associated with natural resource extraction operations. There are numerous uncertainties inherent in estimating quantities and qualities of lithium and costs to extract recoverable reserves, including many factors beyond our control, that could cause results to differ materially from expected financial and operating results or result in future impairment charges.
There is risk to the growth of lithium markets.
Our lithium business is significantly dependent on the development and adoption of new applications for lithium batteries and the growth in demand for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles. To the extent that such development, adoption and growth do not occur in the volume and/or manner that we contemplate, the long-term growth in the markets for
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lithium products may be adversely affected, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.
Demand and market prices for lithium will greatly affect the value of our investment in our lithium resources and our ability to develop it successfully.
Our ability to successfully develop our lithium resources, including recently acquired 60% interest in MRL’s Wodgina Project, and generate a return on investment will be affected by changes in the demand for and market price of lithium-based end products, such as lithium hydroxide. The market price of these products can fluctuate and is affected by numerous factors beyond our control, primarily world supply and demand. Such external economic factors are influenced by changes in international investment patterns, various political developments and macro-economic circumstances. In addition, the price of lithium products is impacted by their purity and performance. We may not be able to effectively mitigate against such fluctuations.
Following the Wodgina acquisition, we announced that, based on current market conditions, the Wodgina mine would idle production of spodumene until market demand supports bringing the mine back into production. There can be no assurance that the market demand for lithium will improve or that the Wodgina mine will be put back into production in the future or at all. Delays in putting the mine into production, as well as continued fluctuations in demand for and pricing of lithium and related products may affect the value of our investment in the Wodgina Project and our value as a whole.
If we are unable to retain key personnel or attract new skilled personnel, it could have an adverse effect on our business.
Our success depends on our ability to attract and retain key personnel, including our management team. In light of the specialized and technical nature of our business, our performance is dependent on the continued service of, and on our ability to attract and retain, qualified management, scientific, technical, marketing and support personnel. Competition for such personnel is intense, and we may be unable to continue to attract or retain such personnel. In addition, because of our reliance on our senior management team, the unanticipated departure of any key member of our management team could have an adverse effect on our business. Our future success depends, in part, on our ability to identify and develop or recruit talent to succeed our senior management and other key positions throughout the organization. If we fail to identify and develop or recruit successors, we are at risk of being harmed by the departures of these key employees. Effective succession planning is also important to our long-term success. Failure to ensure effective transfer of knowledge and smooth transitions involving key employees could hinder our strategic planning and execution.
Some of our employees are unionized, represented by works councils or are employed subject to local laws that are less favorable to employers than the laws of the U.S.
As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately 5,900 employees, including employees of our consolidated joint ventures. Approximately 42% of these employees are represented by unions or works councils. In addition, a large number of our employees are employed in countries in which employment laws provide greater bargaining or other rights to employees than the laws of the U.S. Such employment rights require us to work collaboratively with the legal representatives of those employees to effect any changes to labor arrangements. For example, most of our employees in Europe are represented by works councils that must approve any changes in conditions of employment, including salaries and benefits and staff changes, and may impede efforts to restructure our workforce. Although we believe that we have a good working relationship with our employees, a strike, work stoppage, slowdown or significant dispute with our employees could result in a significant disruption of our operations or higher labor costs.
Our joint ventures may not operate according to their business plans if our partners fail to fulfill their obligations, which may adversely affect our results of operations and may force us to dedicate additional resources to these joint ventures.
We currently participate in a number of joint ventures and may enter into additional joint ventures in the future. The nature of a joint venture requires us to share control with unaffiliated third parties. If our joint venture partners do not fulfill their obligations, the affected joint venture may not be able to operate according to its business plan. In that case, our results of operations may be adversely affected and we may be required to materially change the level of our commitment to the joint venture. Also, differences in views among joint venture participants may result in delayed decisions or failures to agree on major issues. If these differences cause the joint ventures to deviate from their business plans, our results of operations could be adversely affected.

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Risks Related to Our Financial Condition
Our required capital expenditures can be complex, may experience delays or other difficulties, and the costs may exceed our estimates.
Our capital expenditures generally consist of expenditures to maintain and improve existing equipment, facilities and properties, and substantial investments in new or expanded equipment, facilities and properties. Execution of these capital expenditures can be complex, and commencement of production requires start-up, commission and certification of product quality by our customers, which may impact the expected output and timing of sales of product from such facilities. Construction of large chemical operations is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including, among others, the ability to complete a project on a timely basis and in accordance with the estimated budget for such project and our ability to estimate future demand for our products. In addition, our returns on these capital expenditures may not meet our expectations.
Future capital expenditures may be significantly higher, depending on the investment requirements of each of our business lines, and may also vary substantially if we are required to undertake actions to compete with new technologies in our industry. We may not have the capital necessary to undertake these capital investments. If we are unable to do so, we may not be able to effectively compete in some of our markets.
We will need a significant amount of cash to service our indebtedness and our ability to generate cash depends on many factors beyond our control.
Our ability to generate sufficient cash flow from operations or use existing cash balances to make scheduled payments on our debt depends on a range of economic, competitive and business factors, many of which are outside our control. Our business may not generate sufficient cash flow from operations to service our debt obligations. If we are unable to service our debt obligations, we may need to refinance all or a portion of our indebtedness on or before maturity, reduce or delay capital expenditures, sell assets or raise additional equity. We may not be able to refinance any of our indebtedness, sell assets or raise additional 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 or use existing cash balances to satisfy our debt obligations, or to refinance our obligations on commercially reasonable terms, could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
Restrictive covenants in our debt instruments may adversely affect our business.
Our senior credit facilities and the indentures governing our senior notes contain select restrictive covenants. These covenants provide constraints on our financial flexibility. The failure to comply with these or other covenants governing other indebtedness, including indebtedness incurred in the future, could result in an event of default, which, if not cured or waived, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, including cross-defaults to other debt facilities. See “Financial Condition and Liquidity—Long-Term Debt” in Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
Changes in credit ratings issued by nationally recognized statistical rating organizations could adversely affect our cost of financing, the market price of our securities and our debt service obligations.
Credit rating agencies rate our debt securities on factors that include our operating results, actions that we take, their view of the general outlook for our industry and their view of the general outlook for the economy. Actions taken by the rating agencies can include maintaining, upgrading or downgrading the current rating or placing us on a watch list for possible future downgrades. Downgrading the credit rating of our debt securities or placing us on a watch list for possible future downgrades would likely increase our cost of future financing, limit our access to the capital markets and have an adverse effect on the market price of our securities.
Borrowings under a portion of our debt facilities bear interest at floating rates, and are subject to adjustment based on the ratings of our senior unsecured long-term debt. The downgrading of any of our ratings or an increase in any of the benchmark interest rates would result in an increase of the interest expense on our variable rate borrowings.
We are exposed to fluctuations in currency exchange rates, which may adversely affect our operating results and net income.
We conduct our business and incur costs in the local currency of most of the countries in which we operate. Changes in exchange rates between foreign currencies and the U.S. Dollar will affect the recorded levels of our assets, liabilities, net sales, cost of goods sold and operating margins and could result in exchange losses. The primary currencies to which we have exposure are the E.U. Euro, Japanese Yen, Chinese Renminbi, Australian Dollar and Chilean Peso. Exchange rates between
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these currencies and the U.S. Dollar in recent years have fluctuated significantly and may do so in the future. With respect to our potential exposure to foreign currency fluctuations and devaluations, for the year ended December 31, 2020, approximately 23% of our net sales were denominated in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar. Significant changes in these foreign currencies relative to the U.S. Dollar could also have an adverse effect on our ability to meet interest and principal payments on any foreign currency-denominated debt outstanding. In addition to currency translation risks, we incur currency transaction risks whenever one of our operating subsidiaries or joint ventures enters into either a purchase or a sales transaction using a different currency from its functional currency. Our operating results and net income may be affected by any volatility in currency exchange rates and our ability to manage effectively our currency transaction and translation risks.
Changes in, or the interpretation of, tax legislation or rates throughout the world could materially impact our results.
Our effective tax rate and related tax balance sheet attributes could be impacted by changes in tax legislation throughout the world. Currently, the majority of our net sales are generated from customers located outside the U.S., and a substantial portion of our assets and employees are located outside of the U.S.
We have not accrued income taxes or foreign withholding taxes on undistributed earnings for most non-U.S. subsidiaries, because those earnings are intended to be indefinitely reinvested in the operations of those subsidiaries. Certain tax proposals with respect to such earnings could substantially increase our tax expense, which would substantially reduce our income and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows from operating activities.
Our future effective tax rates could be affected by changes in the mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates, expirations of tax holidays or rulings, changes in the assessment regarding the realization of the valuation of deferred tax assets, or changes in tax laws and regulations or their interpretation. Recent developments, including the European Commission’s investigations on illegal state aid, as well as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) project on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting may result in changes to long-standing tax principles, which could adversely affect our effective tax rates or result in higher cash tax liabilities.
We are subject to the regular examination of our income tax returns by various tax authorities. Examinations in material jurisdictions or changes in laws, rules, regulations or interpretations by local taxing authorities could result in impacts to tax years open under statute or to foreign operating structures currently in place. We regularly assess the likelihood of adverse outcomes resulting from these examinations or changes in laws, rules, regulations or interpretations to determine the adequacy of our provision for taxes. It is possible the outcomes from these examinations will have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and operating results.
We may be subject to increased tax exposure resulting from Rockwood pre-acquisition periods. 
Under the terms of certain purchase agreements, third party sellers have agreed to substantially indemnify us for tax liabilities pertaining to periods prior to our 2015 acquisition of Rockwood Holdings Inc. (“Rockwood”). These indemnity obligations will continue generally until the applicable statutes of limitations expire. To the extent that such companies fail to indemnify or satisfy their obligations, or if any amount is not covered by the terms of the indemnity, our earnings could be negatively impacted in future periods through increased tax expense.
Future events may impact our deferred tax asset position and U.S. deferred federal income taxes on undistributed earnings of international affiliates that are considered to be indefinitely reinvested.
We evaluate our ability to utilize deferred tax assets and our need for valuation allowances based on available evidence. This process involves significant management judgment about assumptions that are subject to change from period to period based on changes in tax laws or variances between future projected operating performance and actual results. We are required to establish a valuation allowance for deferred tax assets if we determine, based on available evidence at the time the determination is made, that it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will not be utilized. In making this determination, we evaluate all positive and negative evidence as of the end of each reporting period. Future adjustments (either increases or decreases), to the deferred tax asset valuation allowance are determined based upon changes in the expected realization of the net deferred tax assets. The utilization of our deferred tax assets ultimately depends on the existence of sufficient taxable income in either the carry-back or carry-forward periods under the applicable tax law. Due to significant estimates used to establish the valuation allowance and the potential for changes in facts and circumstances, it is reasonably possible that we will be required to record adjustments to the valuation allowance in future reporting periods. Changes to the valuation allowance or the amount of deferred tax liabilities could have a materially adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Further, should we change our assertion regarding the permanent reinvestment of the undistributed earnings in foreign operations, a deferred tax liability may need to be established.
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Our business and financial results may be adversely affected by various legal and regulatory proceedings.
We are involved from time to time in legal and regulatory proceedings, which may be material in the future. The outcome of proceedings, lawsuits and claims may differ from our expectations, leading us to change estimates of liabilities and related insurance receivables.
Legal and regulatory proceedings, whether with or without merit, and associated internal investigations, may be time-consuming and expensive to prosecute, defend or conduct, may divert management’s attention and other resources, inhibit our ability to sell our products, result in adverse judgments for damages, injunctive relief, penalties and fines, and otherwise negatively affect our business.
Because a significant portion of our operations is conducted through our subsidiaries and joint ventures, our ability to service our debt may be dependent on our receipt of distributions or other payments from our subsidiaries and joint ventures.
A significant portion of our operations is conducted through our subsidiaries and joint ventures. As a result, our ability to service our debt may be partially dependent on the earnings of our subsidiaries and joint ventures and the payment of those earnings to us in the form of dividends, loans or advances and through repayment of loans or advances from us. Payments to us by our subsidiaries and joint ventures are contingent upon our subsidiaries’ or joint ventures’ earnings and other business considerations and may be subject to statutory or contractual restrictions. In addition, there may be significant tax and other legal restrictions on the ability of our non-U.S. subsidiaries or joint ventures to remit money to us.
Although our pension plans currently meet minimum funding requirements, events could occur that would require us to make significant contributions to the plans and reduce the cash available for our business.
We have several defined benefit pension plans around the world, including in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Belgium and Japan. We are required to make cash contributions to our pension plans to the extent necessary to comply with minimum funding requirements imposed by the various countries’ benefit and tax laws. The amount of any such required contributions will be determined annually based on an actuarial valuation of the plans as performed by the plans’ actuaries.
In previous years, we have made voluntary contributions to our U.S. qualified defined benefit pension plans. We anticipate approximately $24 million of required cash contributions during 2021 for our defined benefit pension plans. Additional voluntary pension contributions in and after 2021 may vary depending on factors such as asset returns, interest rates, and legislative changes. The amounts we may elect or be required to contribute to our pension plans in the future may increase significantly. These contributions could be substantial and would reduce the cash available for our business.
Further, an economic downturn or recession or market disruption in the capital and credit markets may adversely impact the value of our pension plan assets, our results of operations, our statement of changes in stockholders’ equity and our liquidity. Our funding obligations could change significantly based on the investment performance of the pension plan assets and changes in actuarial assumptions for local statutory funding valuations. Any deterioration of the capital markets or returns available in such markets may negatively impact our pension plan assets and increase our funding obligations for one or more of these plans and negatively impact our liquidity. We cannot predict the impact of this or any further market disruption on our pension funding obligations.
We may not be able to consummate future acquisitions or integrate acquisitions into our business, which could result in unanticipated expenses and losses.
We believe that our customers are increasingly looking for strong, long-term relationships with a few key suppliers that help them improve product performance, reduce costs, and support new product development. To satisfy these growing customer requirements, our competitors have been consolidating within product lines through mergers and acquisitions.
As part of our business growth strategy, we have acquired businesses and entered into joint ventures in the past and intend to pursue acquisitions and joint venture opportunities in the future. Our ability to implement this component of our growth strategy will be limited by our ability to identify appropriate acquisition or joint venture candidates and our financial resources, including available cash and borrowing capacity. The expense incurred in consummating acquisitions or entering into joint ventures, the time it takes to integrate an acquisition or our failure to integrate businesses successfully, could result in unanticipated expenses and losses. Furthermore, we may not be able to realize any of the anticipated benefits from acquisitions or joint ventures.
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The process of integrating acquired operations into our existing operations may result in unforeseen operating difficulties and may require significant financial resources that would otherwise be available for the ongoing development or expansion of existing operations. Some of the risks associated with the integration of acquisitions include:
potential disruption of our ongoing business and distraction of management;
unforeseen claims and liabilities, including unexpected environmental exposures;
unforeseen adjustments, charges and write-offs;
problems enforcing the indemnification obligations of sellers of businesses or joint venture partners for claims and liabilities;
unexpected losses of customers of, or suppliers to, the acquired business;
difficulty in conforming the acquired businesses’ standards, processes, procedures and controls with our operations;
in the case of foreign acquisitions, the need to integrate operations across different cultures and languages and to address the particular economic, currency, political and regulatory risks associated with specific countries;
variability in financial information arising from the implementation of purchase price accounting;
inability to coordinate new product and process development;
loss of senior managers and other critical personnel and problems with new labor unions and cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into our organization; and
challenges arising from the increased scope, geographic diversity and complexity of our operations.
We may continue to expand our business through acquisitions and we may incur additional indebtedness, including indebtedness related to acquisitions.
We have historically expanded our business primarily through acquisitions. A part of our business strategy is to continue to grow through acquisitions that complement our existing technologies and accelerate our growth. Our credit facilities have limited financial maintenance covenants. In addition, the indenture and other agreements governing our senior notes do not limit our ability to incur additional indebtedness in connection with acquisitions or otherwise. As a result, we may incur substantial additional indebtedness in connection with acquisitions.
Any such additional indebtedness and the related debt service obligations could have important consequences and risks for us, including:
reducing flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our businesses, the competitive environment and the industries in which we operate, and to technological and other changes;
lowering credit ratings;
reducing access to capital and increasing borrowing costs generally or for any additional indebtedness to finance future operating and capital expenses and for general corporate purposes;
reducing funds available for operations, capital expenditures, share repurchases, dividends and other activities; and
creating competitive disadvantages relative to other companies with lower debt levels.
If our goodwill, intangible assets or long-lived assets become impaired, we may be required to record a significant charge to earnings.
Under U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”), we review our intangible assets and long-lived assets for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable. Goodwill is tested for impairment on October 31 of each year, or more frequently if required. Factors that may be considered a change in circumstances, indicating that the carrying value of our goodwill, intangible assets or long-lived assets may not be recoverable, include, but are not limited to, a decline in our stock price and market capitalization, reduced future cash flow estimates, and slower growth rates in our industry. We may be required to record a significant charge in our financial statements during the period in which any impairment of our goodwill, intangible assets or long-lived assets is determined, negatively impacting our results of operations and financial condition.
General Risk Factors
Our business and operations could suffer in the event of cybersecurity breaches, information technology system failures, or network disruptions.
Attempts to gain unauthorized access to our information technology systems become more sophisticated over time. These attempts, which might be related to industrial or other espionage, include covertly introducing malware to our computers and
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networks and impersonating authorized users, among others. We seek to detect and investigate all security incidents and to prevent their recurrence, but in some cases we might be unaware of an incident or its magnitude and effects. The theft, unauthorized use or publication of our intellectual property and/or confidential business information could harm our competitive position, reduce the value of our investment in research and development and other strategic initiatives or otherwise adversely affect our business. To the extent that any cybersecurity breach results in inappropriate disclosure of our customers’ or licensees’ confidential information, we may incur liability as a result. The devotion of additional resources to the security of our information technology systems in the future could significantly increase the cost of doing business or otherwise adversely impact our financial results.
In addition, risks associated with information technology systems failures or network disruptions, including risks associated with upgrading our systems or in successfully integrating information technology and other systems in connection with the integration of businesses we acquire, could disrupt our operations by impeding our processing of transactions, financial reporting and our ability to protect our customer or company information, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
The occurrence or threat of extraordinary events, including domestic and international terrorist attacks, may disrupt our operations and decrease demand for our products.
Chemical-related assets may be at greater risk of future terrorist attacks than other possible targets in the U.S. and around the world. As a result, we are subject to existing federal rules and regulations (and may be subject to additional legislation or regulations in the future) that impose site security requirements on chemical manufacturing facilities, which increase our overhead expenses.
We are also subject to federal regulations that have heightened security requirements for the transportation of hazardous chemicals in the U.S. We believe we have met these requirements but additional federal and local regulations that limit the distribution of hazardous materials are being considered. We ship and receive materials that are classified as hazardous. Bans on movement of hazardous materials through cities, like Washington, D.C., could affect the efficiency of our logistical operations. Broader restrictions on hazardous material movements could lead to additional investment to produce hazardous raw materials and change where and what products we manufacture.
The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program (“CFATS Program”), which is administered by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), identifies and regulates chemical facilities to ensure that they have security measures in place to reduce the risks associated with potential terrorist attacks on chemical plants located in the U.S. In December 2014, the Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act of 2014 (“CFATS Act”) was enacted. DHS has enacted new rules under the CFATS Program that imposes comprehensive federal security regulations for high-risk chemical facilities in possession of specified quantities of chemicals of interest. This rule establishes risk-based performance standards for the security of the U.S.'s chemical facilities. It requires covered chemical facilities to prepare Security Vulnerability Assessments, which identify facility security vulnerabilities, and to develop and implement Site Security Plans, which include measures that satisfy the identified risk-based performance standards. We have implemented all necessary changes to comply with the rules under the CFATS Program to date, however, we cannot determine with certainty any future costs associated with any additional security measures that DHS may require.
The occurrence of extraordinary events, including future terrorist attacks and the outbreak or escalation of hostilities, cannot be predicted, and their occurrence can be expected to continue to negatively affect the economy in general, and the markets for our products in particular. The resulting damage from a direct attack on our assets, or assets used by us, could include loss of life and property damage. In addition, available insurance coverage may not be sufficient to cover all of the damage incurred or, if available, may be prohibitively expensive.
The COVID-19 pandemic could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position, and cash flows.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant uncertainty and economic disruption. The extent to which it impacts our business, results of operations, financial position, and cash flows is difficult to predict and dependent upon many factors over which we have no control. These factors include, but are not limited to, the duration and severity of the pandemic; government restrictions on businesses and individuals; the health and safety of our employees and communities in which we do business; the impact of the pandemic on our customers' businesses and the resulting demand for our products; the impact on our suppliers and supply chain network; the impact on U.S. and global economies and the timing and rate of economic recovery; and potential adverse effects on the financial markets.
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The Company has taken, and plans to continue to take, certain measures to maintain financial flexibility, including delaying certain capital expenditure projects and accelerating our cost savings initiative, while still protecting our employees and customers. However, if conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic worsen and the Company’s earnings and cash flow from operations do not start to recover as contemplated in the Company's current plans, the Company may not be able to maintain compliance with its financial covenants and could be required to seek additional amendments to the Credit Agreements. If the Company were not able to obtain any such necessary additional amendments, that would lead to an event of default and its lenders could require the Company to repay its outstanding debt. In that situation, the Company may not be able to raise sufficient debt or equity capital, or divest assets, to refinance or repay the lenders.
Natural disasters or other unanticipated catastrophes could impact our results of operations.
The occurrence of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods or earthquakes; pandemics, such as the recent outbreak of COVID-19; or other unanticipated catastrophes at any of the locations in which we or our key partners, suppliers and customers do business, could cause interruptions in our operations. Historically, major hurricanes have caused significant disruption to the operations on the U.S. Gulf Coast for many of our customers and our suppliers of certain raw materials, which had an adverse impact on volume and cost for some of our products. Our operations in Chile could be subject to significant rain events and earthquakes, and our operations in Asia could be subject to weather events such as typhoons. A global or regional pandemic or similar outbreak in a region of our, our customers, or our suppliers could disrupt business. If similar or other weather events, natural disasters, or other catastrophe events occur in the future, they could negatively affect the results of operations at our sites in the affected regions as well as have adverse impacts on the global economy.
Our insurance may not fully cover all potential exposures.
We maintain property, business interruption, casualty, and other insurance, but such insurance may not cover all risks associated with the hazards of our business and is subject to limitations, including deductibles and coverage limits. We may incur losses beyond the limits, or outside the coverage, of our insurance policies, including liabilities for environmental remediation. In addition, from time to time, various types of insurance for companies in the specialty chemical industry have not been available on commercially acceptable terms or, in some cases, have not been available at all. We are potentially at additional risk if one or more of our insurance carriers fail. Additionally, severe disruptions in the domestic and global financial markets could adversely impact the ratings and survival of some insurers. Future downgrades in the ratings of enough insurers could adversely impact both the availability of appropriate insurance coverage and its cost. In the future, we may not be able to obtain coverage at current levels, if at all, and our premiums may increase significantly on coverage that we maintain.
We may be exposed to certain regulatory and financial risks related to climate change.
Growing concerns about climate change may result in the imposition of additional regulations or restrictions to which we may become subject. Climate changes include changes in rainfall and in storm patterns and intensities, water shortages, significantly changing sea levels and increasing atmospheric and water temperatures, among others. For example, there have been concerns regarding the declining water level of the Dead Sea, from which our joint venture, JBC, produces bromine. A number of governments or governmental bodies have introduced or are contemplating regulatory changes in response to climate change, including regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Potentially, additional U.S. federal regulation will be forthcoming with respect to greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon dioxide) and/or “cap and trade” legislation that could impact our operations. In addition, we have operations in the E.U., Brazil, China, Japan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, which have implemented, or may implement, measures to achieve objectives under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCC”), which set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The outcome of new legislation or regulation in the U.S. and other jurisdictions in which we operate may result in new or additional requirements, additional charges to fund energy efficiency activities, and fees or restrictions on certain activities. While certain climate change initiatives may result in new business opportunities for us in the area of alternative fuel technologies and emissions control, compliance with these initiatives may also result in additional costs to us, including, among other things, increased production costs, additional taxes, reduced emission allowances or additional restrictions on production or operations. Any adopted future climate change regulations could also negatively impact our ability to compete with companies situated in areas not subject to such limitations. Even without such regulation, increased public awareness and adverse publicity about potential impacts on climate change emanating from us or our industry could harm us. We may not be able to recover the cost of compliance with new or more stringent laws and regulations, which could adversely affect our business and negatively impact our growth. Furthermore, the potential impact of climate change and related regulation on our customers is highly uncertain and there can be no assurance that it will not have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
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Economic conditions and regulatory changes relating to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union could adversely impact our business.
Following a referendum in 2016, voters in the United Kingdom (“U.K.”) approved that country’s exit from the E.U., a process often referred to as “Brexit.” The U.K. formally left the E.U. on January 31, 2020, subject to a 11-month transition period. Following completion of the transition period, the U.K.’s withdrawal from the E.U. was completed on December 31, 2020. The future effects of Brexit will depend on the effect and implementation of the E.U.–U.K. Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which was agreed between the U.K. and E.U. on December 24, 2020, formally ratified by the UK Parliament on December 30, 2020, and expected to be formally approved by the E.U. parliament in the first quarter of 2021. Although the E.U.-U.K. Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides some clarity with respect to aspects of the future relationship between the U.K. and the E.U. (including with respect to free trade in goods, limited mutual market access in services, and cooperation mechanisms in a range of policy areas), much uncertainty remains about what financial, trade and legal implications Brexit will have and how it will affect the future relationship between the U.K. and E.U. We derive a significant portion of our revenues from sales outside the U.S., including 17% from E.U. countries. The consequences of Brexit, could introduce significant uncertainties into global financial markets, including volatility in foreign currencies, and adversely impact the markets in which we and our customers operate. Adverse consequences such as deterioration in economic conditions, volatility in currency exchange rates or adverse changes in regulation could have a negative impact on our future operations, operating results and financial condition. All of these potential consequences could be further magnified if additional countries were to exit the E.U.

Item 1B.Unresolved Staff Comments.
NONE

Item 2.Properties.
We operate globally, with our principal executive offices located in Charlotte, NC and regional shared services offices located in Budapest, Hungary and Dalian, China. All of these properties are leased. We and our affiliates also operate regional sales and administrative offices in various locations throughout the world, which are generally leased.
We believe that our production facilities, research and development facilities, and sales and administrative offices are generally well maintained, effectively used and are adequate to operate our business. During 2020, the Company’s manufacturing plants operated at approximately 88% capacity, in the aggregate.
Set forth below is information regarding our significant production facilities operated by us and our affiliates. Additional details regarding our significant mineral properties can be found below the table.
LocationPrincipal UseOwned/Leased
Lithium
Greenbushes, Australia(a)
Production of lithium spodumene minerals and lithium concentrate
Owned(e)
Kemerton, Australia(a)(b)
Production of lithium carbonate and technical and battery-grade lithium hydroxide
Owned(e)
Kings Mountain, NCProduction of technical and battery-grade lithium hydroxide, lithium salts and battery-grade lithium metal productsOwned
La Negra, Chile(a)
Production of technical and battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium chlorideOwned
Langelsheim, GermanyProduction of butyllithium, lithium chloride, specialty products, lithium hydrides, cesium and special metalsOwned
Meishan, China(a)
Production of lithium carbonate and technical and battery-grade lithium hydroxideOwned
New Johnsonville, TNProduction of butyllithium and specialty productsOwned
Salar de Atacama, Chile(a)
Production of lithium brine and potash
Owned(f)
Silver Peak, NV(a)
Production of lithium brine, technical-grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxideOwned
Taichung, TaiwanProduction of butyllithiumOwned
Wodgina, Australia(a)(c)
Production of lithium spodumene minerals and lithium concentrate
Owned and leased(e)
Xinyu, China(a)
Production of lithium carbonate and technical and battery-grade lithium hydroxideOwned
Bromine Specialties
Baton Rouge, LAResearch and product development activities, and production of flame retardantsLeased
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LocationPrincipal UseOwned/Leased
Magnolia, AR(a)
Production of flame retardants, bromine, inorganic bromides, agricultural intermediates and tertiary aminesOwned
Safi, JordanProduction of bromine and derivatives and flame retardants
Owned and leased(e)
Twinsburg, OHProduction of bromine-activated carbonLeased
Catalysts
Amsterdam, the NetherlandsProduction of refinery catalysts, research and product development activitiesOwned
Bitterfeld, GermanyRefinery catalyst regeneration, rejuvenation, and sulfiding
Owned(e)
La Voulte, FranceRefinery catalysts regeneration and treatment, research and development activities
Owned(e)
McAlester, OKRefinery catalyst regeneration, rejuvenation, pre-reclaim burn off, as well as specialty zeolites and additives marketing activities
Owned(e)
Mobile, ALProduction of tin stabilizers
Owned(e)
Niihama, JapanProduction of refinery catalysts
Leased(e)
Pasadena, TX(d)
Production of aluminum alkyls, orthoalkylated anilines, refinery catalysts and other specialty chemicals; refinery catalysts regeneration services and research and development activitiesOwned
Santa Cruz, BrazilProduction of catalysts, research and product development activities
Owned(e)
Takaishi City, Osaka, JapanProduction of aluminum alkyls
Owned(e)
All Other
South Haven, MIProduction of custom fine chemistry products including pharmaceutical activesOwned
Tyrone, PAProduction of custom fine chemistry products, agricultural intermediates, performance polymer products and research and development activitiesOwned

(a)    See further below for further discussion of these significant mineral extraction and processing facilities.
(b)    Construction of the Kemerton, Australia facility is expected to be completed in late 2021, followed by a six month commissioning and qualification process.
(c)    Based on current market conditions, the Wodgina mine has idled production of spodumene until market demand supports bringing the mine back into production.
(d)    The Pasadena, Texas location includes three separate manufacturing plants which are owned, primarily utilized by Catalysts, including one plant that is owned by an unconsolidated joint venture.
(e)    Owned or leased by joint venture.
(f)    Ownership will revert to the Chilean government once we have sold all remaining amounts under our contract with the Chilean government pursuant to which we obtain lithium brine in Chile.

Significant Mineral Properties
Set forth below are details regarding our significant mineral properties operated by us and our affiliates in accordance with Industry Guide 7 issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). In 2018, the SEC adopted new rules relating to property disclosures by companies with significant mining operations, effective for the year beginning January 1, 2021. Thus, the Company will not be required to comply with the SEC’s new mining operation disclosure rules until the earlier of its next filing of a registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933, or the filing of its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ending December 31, 2021. The Company does not have current estimates of proven or probable reserves for its significant mining properties as defined by Industry Guide 7 as of this filing. However, the Company is in the process of developing these reserve estimates in accordance with the new mining operation rules adopted by the SEC.

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Greenbushes, Australia
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The Greenbushes mine is a hard rock, open pit mine located approximately 250km south of Perth, Western Australia, 90km southeast of the port of Bunbury, a major bulk-handling port in the southwest of Western Australia. The lithium mining operation is near the Greenbushes townsite located in the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes. Access to the Greenbushes Mine is via the paved South Western Highway between Bunbury and Bridgetown to Greenbushes Township and via the paved Maranup Ford Road to the Greenbushes Mine.
Lithium production from the Greenbushes Mine has been undertaken continuously for more than 20 years. Modern exploration has been undertaken on the property since the mid-1980s, first by Greenbushes Limited, then by Lithium Australia Ltd and in turn by Sons of Gwalia prior to the acquisition of Greenbushes by Talison in 2007. Initial exploration focused largely on tantalum, with the emphasis changing to lithium from around 2000. In 2014, Rockwood acquired a 49% ownership interest in Windfield, which owns 100% of Talison, from Sichuan Tianqi Lithium Industries Inc. This 49% ownership in Windfield was assumed by Albemarle in 2015 as part of the acquisition of Rockwood. We purchase lithium concentrate from Windfield, and our investment in the joint venture is reported as an unconsolidated equity investment on our balance sheet.
About 55% of the tenements held by Talison are covered by Western Australia’s State Forest, which is under the authority of the Western Australia Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. The majority of the remaining land is private land that covers about 40% of the surface rights. The remaining ground comprises crown land, road reserves and other miscellaneous reserves. The tenements cover a total area of approximately 10,000 hectares and include the historic Greenbushes tin, tantalum and current lithium mining areas. Talison holds the mining rights for all lithium minerals on these tenements. The operating lithium mining and processing plant area covers approximately 2,000 hectares comprising three mining leases. All lithium mining activities, including tailings storage, processing plant operations, open pits and waste rock dumps, are currently carried out within the boundaries of the three mining leases plus two general purpose leases. In order to keep the granted tenements in good standing, Talison is required to maintain permits, make an annual contribution to the statutory Mining Rehabilitation Fund and pay a royalty on concentrate sales for lithium mineral production as prescribed under the Mining Act
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Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries
1978 in Western Australia. There are no private royalties that apply to the Greenbushes property. Talison reviews and renews all tenements on an annual basis.
The Greenbushes deposit consists of a main, rare-metal zoned pegmatite body, with numerous smaller footwall pegmatite dykes and pods. The primary intrusion and its subsidiary dykes and pods are concentrated within shear zones on the boundaries of granofels, ultramafic schists and amphibolites. The pegmatites are crosscut by ferrous-rich, mafic dolerite which is of paramount importance to the currant mining methods. The pegmatite body is over 3 km long (north by northwest), up to 300 meters wide (normal to dip), strikes north to northwest and dips moderately to steeply west to southwest.
The major minerals from the Greenbushes pegmatite are quartz, spodumene, albite and K-feldspar. The main lithium-bearing minerals are spodumene (containing approximately 8% lithium oxide) and varieties kunzite and hiddenite. Minor to trace lithium minerals include lepidolite mica, amblygonite and lithiophilite. Lithium is readily leached in the weathering environment and thus is virtually non-existent in weathered pegmatite. Exploration drilling at Greenbushes has been ongoing for over 40 years, including drilling in 2020, using reverse circulation and diamond drill holes.
Three lithium mineral processing plants are currently operating on the Greenbushes site, two chemical grade plants and a technical grade plant. Tailings are discharged to the tailings storage facility without the need for any neutralization process. Additional infrastructure on site includes power and water supply facilities, a laboratory, administrative offices, occupational health/safety/training offices, dedicated mines rescue area, stores, storage sheds, workshops and engineering offices. The Greenbushes site also leases production drills, excavators, trucks and various support equipment to extract the ore deposit by open pit methods. Talison’s power is delivered by a local distribution system and reticulated and metered within the site. Water is sourced from rainfall and stored in several process dams located on site. We consider the condition of all of our plants, facilities and equipment to be suitable and adequate for the businesses we conduct, and we maintain them regularly. As of December 31, 2020, the gross asset value of the facilities at the Greenbushes site was approximately $789 million. During 2020, 88,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (“LCE”) of lithium concentrate were produced at the Greenbushes facilities. Talison currently sells the lithium concentrate only to its shareholders.
Talison ships the chemical-grade lithium concentrate in vessels to our facilities in Meishan and Xinyu, China to process into battery-grade lithium hydroxide. In addition, the output from Talison can be used by tolling entities in China to produce both lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide. See a description of our facilities in Meishan and Xinyu below under “Other Significant Lithium Processing Facilities.”

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Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries
Salar de Atacama/La Negra, Chile
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The Salar de Atacama is located in the commune of San Pedro de Atacama, at the eastern end of the Antofagasta Region and close to the border of Argentina and Bolivia. Access to the property is on the major four-lane paved Panamericana Route 5 north from Antofagasta, Chile approximately 60 km northeast to B-385. On B-385, a two laned paved highway, the Albemarle Salar de Atacama project is approximately 175 km to the east. The site has a small private airport that serves the project. A small paved runway airport is also located near San Pedro de Atacama and a large international airport is located in Antofagasta. The La Negra plant has direct access roads and located approximately 20 km by paved four lane highway Route 28 southeast of Antofagasta turning north approximately 3 km on Route 5.
In the early 1960s, water with high concentrations of salts was discovered in the Salar de Atacama Basin. In January 1975, one of our predecessors, Foote Mineral Company, signed a long-term contract with the Chilean government for mineral rights with respect to the Salar de Atacama consisting exclusively of the right to access lithium brine, covering an area of approximately 16,700 hectares. The contract originally permitted the production and sale of up to 200,000 metric tons of lithium metal equivalent (“LME”), a calculated percentage of LCE. In 1981, the first construction of evaporation ponds in the Salar de Atacama began. The following year, the construction of the lithium carbonate plant in La Negra began. In 1990, the facilities at the Salar de Atacama were expanded with a new well system and the capacity of the lithium carbonate plant in the La Negra plant was expanded. In 1998, the lithium chloride plant in La Negra began operating, the same year that Chemetall purchased Foote Mineral Company. Subsequently, in 2004, Chemetall was acquired by Rockwood, and in 2015, Rockwood was acquired by Albemarle. Effective January 1, 2017, the Chilean government and Albemarle entered into an annex to the original agreement through which its duration was modified, extending it until the balance of: (a) the original 200,000 metric tons of LME and an additional 262,132 metric tons of LME granted through this annex have been exploited, processed, and sold, or (b) on January 1, 2044, whichever comes first. In addition, the amended agreement provides for commission payments to the Chilean government based on sales price/metric ton on the amounts sold under the additional quota granted, our support of research and development in Chile of lithium applications and solar energy, and our support of local communities in
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Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries
Northern Chile. Albemarle currently operates its extraction and production facilities in Chile under this mineral rights agreement with the Chilean government.
The Salar de Atacama is a salt flat, the largest in Chile, located in the Atacama desert in northern Chile, which is the driest place on the planet and thus has an extremely high annual rate of evaporation and extremely low annual rainfall. Our extraction through evaporation process works as follows: snow in the Andes Mountains melts and flows into underground pools of water containing brine, which generally have high concentrations of lithium. We then pump the water containing brine above ground through a series of pumps and wells into a network of large evaporation ponds. Over the course of approximately eighteen months, the desert sun evaporates the water causing other salts to precipitate and leaving behind concentrated lithium brine. If weather conditions are not favorable, the evaporation process may be prolonged. After we obtain the lithium brine from the Salar de Atacama, we process it into lithium carbonate and lithium chloride at our manufacturing facilities in nearby La Negra, Chile.
The filling materials of the Salar de Atacama Basin are dominated by the Vilama Formation and the more recently, in geologic time, by evaporitic and clastic materials that are currently being deposited in the basin. These units house the basin's aquifer system and are composed of evaporitic chemical sediments that include carbonate, gypsum and halite intervals interrupted by volcanic deposits of large sheets of ignimbrite, volcanic ash and smaller classical deposits. Lithium-rich brines are extracted from the halite aquifer that is located within the nucleus of the salt flat. The Salar de Atacama basin contains a continental system of lithium-rich brine. These types of systems have six common (global) characteristics: arid climate; closed basin that contains a salt flat (salt crust), a salt lake, or both; igneous and/or hydrothermal activity; tectonic subsidence; suitable sources of lithium; and sufficient time to concentrate the lithium in the brine.
In the Salar de Atacama basin, lithium-rich brines are found in a halite aquifer. Carbonate and sulfates are found near the edges of the basin. The average, minimum and maximum concentrations of lithium in the Salar de Atacama basin are approximately 1,400, 900 and 7,000 mg/L, respectively. From 2017 through 2019, two drilling campaigns were carried out in order to obtain geological and hydrogeological information at the Albemarle mining concession.
The facilities at the Salar de Atacama consist of extraction wells, evaporation and concentration ponds, leaching plants, a potash plant, a drying floor, services and general areas, including salt stockpiles, as well as a fleet of owned and leased equipment. The extracted concentrated lithium brine is sent to the La Negra plant by truck for processing. The Salar de Atacama has its own powerhouse that generates the energy necessary for the entire operation of the facilities. We also have permanent and continuous groundwater exploitation rights for two wells that are for industrial use and to supply the Salar de Atacama facilities. The La Negra facilities consist of a boron removal plant, a calcium and magnesium removal plant, two lithium carbonate conversion plants, a lithium chloride plant, evaporation-sedimentation ponds, an offsite area where the raw materials are housed and the inputs that are used in the process are prepared, a dry area where the various products are prepared, as well as a fleet of owned and leased equipment. La Negra is supplied electricity from a local company and has rights to a well in the Peine community for its water supply. We are currently constructing a third lithium carbonate conversion plant expected to be completed mid-2021, followed by a six-month commissioning and qualification process. We consider the condition of all of our plants, facilities and equipment to be suitable and adequate for the businesses we conduct, and we maintain them regularly. As of December 31, 2020, the combined gross asset value of our facilities at the Salar de Atacama and in La Negra, Chile (not inclusive of construction in process) was approximately $863 million. During 2020, we produced 42,000 metric tons of LCE of primarily lithium carbonate at our La Negra facilities.

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Silver Peak, Nevada
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The Silver Peak site is located in a rural area approximately 30 miles southwest of Tonopah, in Esmeralda County, Nevada. It is located in the Clayton Valley, an arid valley historically covered with dry lake beds (playas). The operation borders the small unincorporated town of Silver Peak, Nevada. Albemarle uses the Silver Peak site for the production of lithium brines, which are used to make lithium carbonate and, to a lesser degree, lithium hydroxide. Access to the site is off of the paved highway SR-265 in the town of Silver Peak, Nevada. The administrative offices are located on the south side of the road. The process facility is on the north side of the road and the brine operations are located approximately three miles east of Silver Peak on Silver Peak Road and occupy both the north and south sides of the road. In addition, access to the site is also possible via gravel/dirt roads from Tonopah, Nevada and Goldfield, Nevada.
Lithium brine extraction in the Clayton Valley began in the mid-1960’s by one of our predecessors, the Foote Mineral Company. Since that time, lithium brine operations have been operated on a continuous basis. In 1998, Chemetall purchased Foote Mineral Company. Subsequently, in 2004, Chemetall was acquired by Rockwood, and in 2015, Rockwood was acquired by Albemarle. Our mineral rights in Silver Peak consist of our right to access lithium brine pursuant to our permitted and certified senior water rights, a settlement agreement with the U.S. government, originally entered into in June 1991, and our patented and unpatented land claims. Pursuant to the 1991 agreement, our water rights and our land claims, we have rights to all lithium that we can remove economically from the Clayton Valley Basin in Nevada. We have been operating at the Silver Peak site since 1966. Our Silver Peak site covers a surface of over 13,500 acres, more than 10,500 acres of which we own through a subsidiary. The remaining acres are owned by the U.S. government from whom we lease the land pursuant to unpatented land claims that are renewed annually. Actual surface disturbance associated with the operations is 7,390 acres, primarily associated with the evaporation ponds. The manufacturing and administrative activities are confined to an area approximately 20 acres in size.
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Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries
We extract lithium brine from our Silver Peak site through substantially the same evaporation process we use at the Salar de Atacama. We process the lithium brine extracted from our Silver Peak site into lithium carbonate at our plant in Silver Peak. It is hypothesized that the current levels of lithium dissolved in brine originate from relatively recent dissolution of halite by meteoric waters that have penetrated the playa in the last 10,000 years. The halite formed in the playa during the aforementioned climatic periods of low precipitation and that the concentrated lithium was incorporated as liquid inclusions into the halite crystals. There are no current exploration activities on the Silver Peak lithium operation. However, in January 2021, we announced that we will expand capacity in Silver Peak and begin a program to evaluate clays and other available Nevada resources for commercial production of lithium. Beginning in 2021, we plan to invest $30 million to $50 million to double the current production in Silver Peak by 2025, with the aim of making full use of the brine water rights.
The facilities at Silver Peak consist of extraction wells, evaporation and concentration ponds, a lithium carbonate plant, a lithium anhydrous plant, a lithium hydroxide plant, a liming plant, wellfield and mill maintenance, a shipping and packaging facility and administrative offices, as well as a fleet of owned and leased equipment. Silver Peak is supplied electricity from a local company and we currently have two operating fresh water wells nearby that supply water to the facilities. We consider the condition of all of our plants, facilities and equipment to be suitable and adequate for the businesses we conduct, and we maintain them regularly. As of December 31, 2020, the gross asset value of our facilities at our Silver Peak site was approximately $55 million. During 2020, we produced approximately 2,200 metric tons of LCE of lithium carbonate at our Silver Peak facilities.
Wodgina, Australia
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The Wodgina property is located approximately 110 km south-southeast of Port Hedland, Western Australia between the Turner and Yule Rivers. The area includes multiple prominent greenstone ridges up to 180 m above mean sea level surrounded by granitic plains and lowlands. The property is accessible via National Highway 1 to National highway 95 to the Wodgina
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Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries
camp road. All roads to site are paved. The nearest large regional airport is in Port Hedland which also hosts an international deep-water port facility. In addition, a site dedicated all-weather airstrip is located onsite capable of landing certain aircrafts.
The Wodgina pegmatite deposits were discovered in 1902. Since then, the pegmatite-hosted deposits have been mined for tin, tantalum, beryl, and lithium by various companies. Mining occurred sporadically until Goldrim Mining formed a new partnership with Pan West Tantalum Pty Ltd., who opened open pit mining at the site in 1989 and progressively expanded during the 1990s. Active mining at the Mt. Cassiterite pit has been started and stopped regularly between 2008 and the present. The mine was placed on care and maintenance in 2008, 2012, and most recently in 2019. In 2016, MRL acquired the mine and upgraded the processing facilities and site infrastructure to 750ktpa spodumene plant producing 6% spodumene concentrate, completed in 2019. On October 31, 2019, we completed the acquisition of a 60% interest in this hard rock lithium mine project and formed an unincorporated joint venture with MRL, named MARBL. We formed MARBL for the exploration, development, mining, processing and production of lithium and other minerals (other than iron ore and tantalum) from the Wodgina Project. Since the acquisition, we have idled MARBL’s production of spodumene until market demand supports bringing the mine back into production. No mining or processing operations are active.
Wodgina holds mining tenements within the Karriyarra native title claim and are subject to the Land Use Agreement dated March 2001 between the Karriyarra People and Gwalia Tantalum Ltd (now Wodgina Lithium, a 100% subsidiary of MRL, our MARBL joint venture partner). All mining and exploration land tenements are in good standing and no known impediments exist. Certain tenements are due for renewal in 2026 and another in 2030. Drilling and exploration activities have been conducted throughout the mining life of the Wodgina property.
The Wodgina mine is a pegmatite lithium deposit with spodumene the dominant mineral. The lithium mineralization occurs as 10 - 30 cm long grey-white spodumene crystals within medium grained pegmatites comprising primarily of quartz, feldspar, spodumene, and muscovite. Typically, the spodumene crystals are oriented orthogonal to the pegmatite contacts.
The facilities at Wodgina consist of a three stage crushing plant, the spodumene concentration plant, administrative offices, an accommodation camp, a power station, gas pipeline, three mature and reliable water bore fields, extension for future tailing storage and a fleet of owned and leased mine production equipment. The gas pipeline feeds the site power station to provide the power to the facilities. Water is obtained from the dedicated water bore fields. We consider the condition of all of our plants, facilities and equipment to be suitable and adequate for the businesses we conduct, and we maintain them regularly. As of December 31, 2020, our 60% portion of the gross asset value of the facilities at our Wodgina site was approximately $186 million. There was no production from the Wodgina site during the year ended December 31, 2020, as the site remains on care and maintenance until market demand supports bringing it back to production.
Other Significant Lithium Processing Facilities
We are currently constructing a high-quality spodumene conversion plant in Kemerton, Australia, approximately 17 km north-east of Bunbury, Western Australia, valued at $1.2 billion (with $480 million, or 40%, to be owned by MRL as part of the acquisition). As a result of the acquisition of 60% of the Wodgina Project from MRL, we will own 60% of the Kemerton conversion plant, with the remaining 40% owned by MRL. Construction of the plant is expected to be completed in late 2021, followed by a six month commissioning and qualification process. When completed, the plant will covert spodumene concentrate transferred from Talison and the Wodgina site (when operating) to lithium hydroxide.
Once construction is complete, the Kemerton facility will consist of a front-end and back-end processing areas to produce lithium hydroxide on two product processing trains. The front-end portion of the plant includes the following sections - calcination and acid roasting of lithium spodumene and leaching/pulping of the resultant lithium solution. The back-end portion of the plant will include solution crystallization, evaporation and drying/packaging areas where the finished product lithium hydroxide will prepared for shipment to our customers via truck, rail or boat. Kemerton is expected to have an initial capacity of about 50,000 metric tons (25,000 metric tons per processing train) of LCE of lithium hydroxide, with an ability to expand to 100,000 metric tons LCE over time.
The facilities in Meishan and Xinyu consist of a front-end and back-end processing areas to produce lithium hydroxide. At each site, the front-end portion of the plant includes the following sections - calcination and acid roasting of lithium spodumene and leaching/pulping of the resultant lithium solution. The back-end portion of the plants include solution crystallization, evaporation and drying/packaging areas where the finished product lithium hydroxide is prepared for shipment to our customers via truck, rail or boat. We consider the condition of all of our plants and equipment to be suitable and adequate for the businesses we conduct, and we maintain them regularly. As of December 31, 2020, the combined gross asset value of our facilities at our Meishan and Xinyu sites was approximately $120 million. During 2020, we produced approximately 35,000 metric tons of LCE of lithium hydroxide at our Meishan and Xinyu facilities.
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Magnolia, Arkansas
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Magnolia is located in the southwest Arkansas, north of the center of Columbia County, approximately 50 miles east of Texarkana and 135 miles south of Little Rock. Our facilities include two separate production plants, the South Plant and the West Plant. The South Plant is accessible via U.S. Route 79 and paved local roads. The West Plant is accessible by U.S. Route 371 and paved local roads. The decentralized well sites around the brine fields are accessed via paved Arkansas Highway 19, 98, 160 and 344.
In Magnolia, bromine is recovered from underground brine wells and then processed into a variety of end products at the plant on location. Albemarle has a total of 25 brine production wells and 35 production brine injection wells that are currently active on the property. Albemarle’s area of bromine operation is comprised of over 9,500 individual leases with local landowners comprising a total area of over 98,500 acres. The leases have been acquired over time as field development extended across the field. Each lease continues for a period of 25 years or longer until after a two year period where brine is not injected or produced from/to a well within two miles of lease land areas, as long as lease rentals are continuing to be paid.
Bromine extraction began in Magnolia in 1965 as the first brine supply well was drilled, and additional wells were put into production over the next few years. In 1987, a predecessor company took over operations of certain brine supply and injection wells, which Albemarle continues to operate to this day. In 2019, Albemarle completed, and put into production, two new brine production supply wells in Magnolia.
In Magnolia, bromine exists as sodium bromide in the formation waters or brine of the Jurassic age Smackover Formation, a geological formation in Arkansas, in the subsurface at 7,000 to 8,500 feet below sea level. The mineralization occurs within the highly saline Smackover Formation waters or brine where the bromide has an abnormally rich composition. The bromine concentration is more than twice as high as that found in normal evaporated sea water. The bromine mineralization of the brine is distributed throughout the porous intervals of the upper and middle Smackover on the property. The strong permeability and porosity of the Smackover grainstones provide excellent continuity of the bromine mineralization within the brine.
The facilities at Magnolia consist of brine production and injection wells, brine ponds, two bromine processing plants, pipelines between the plants and wells, a laboratory, storage and warehouses, administrative offices, as well as a fleet of owned and leased equipment. Our Magnolia facilities are supplied electricity from a local company and we currently have several operating freshwater wells nearby that supply water to the facilities. In addition, both plants have dedicated rail spurs that provide access to several rail lines to transport product throughout the country. We consider the condition of all of our plants, facilities and equipment to be suitable and adequate for the businesses we conduct, and we maintain them regularly. As of
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December 31, 2020, the gross asset value of our facilities at our Magnolia site was approximately $747 million. During 2020, we produced approximately 74,000 metric tons of bromine at our Magnolia facilities.

Item 3.Legal Proceedings.
We are involved in litigation incidental to our business and are a party to a number of legal actions and claims, various governmental proceedings and private civil lawsuits, including, but not limited to, those related to environmental and hazardous material exposure matters, product liability, and breach of contract. Some of the legal proceedings include claims for compensatory as well as punitive damages. While the final outcome of these matters cannot be predicted with certainty, considering, among other things, the legal defenses available and liabilities that have been recorded along with applicable insurance, it is currently the opinion of management that none of these pending items will have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or liquidity.
As first reported in 2018, following receipt of information regarding potential improper payments being made by third party sales representatives of our Refining Solutions business, within our Catalysts segment, we promptly retained outside counsel and forensic accountants to investigate potential violations of the Company’s Code of Conduct, the FCPA, and other potentially applicable laws. Based on this internal investigation, we have voluntarily self-reported potential issues relating to the use of third party sales representatives in our Refining Solutions business, within our Catalysts segment, to the DOJ, the SEC, and DPP, and are cooperating with the DOJ, the SEC, and DPP in their review of these matters. In connection with our internal investigation, we have implemented, and are continuing to implement, appropriate remedial measures.
At this time, we are unable to predict the duration, scope, result or related costs associated with the investigations by the DOJ, the SEC, or DPP. We also are unable to predict what, if any, action may be taken by the DOJ, the SEC or DPP, or what penalties or remedial actions they may seek to impose. Any determination that our operations or activities are not in compliance with existing laws or regulations could result in the imposition of fines, penalties, disgorgement, equitable relief, or other losses. We do not believe, however, that any such fines, penalties, disgorgement, equitable relief or other losses would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or liquidity.
An unexpected adverse resolution of one or more of these items, however, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or liquidity in that particular period.

Item 4.Mine Safety Disclosures.
None.

Executive Officers of the Registrant.
The names, ages and biographies of our executive officers, as of February 19, 2021, are set forth below. The term of office of each officer is until the meeting of the Board of Directors following the next annual shareholders’ meeting in May 2021.
NameAgePosition
J. Kent Masters60Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Karen G. Narwold61Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel
Scott A. Tozier55Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Melissa Anderson56Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer
John C. Barichivich III53Vice President, Corporate Controller, Chief Accounting Officer
Raphael Crawford45President, Catalysts Global Business Unit
Netha Johnson50President, Bromine Specialties Global Business Unit
Eric Norris54President, Lithium Global Business Unit
J. Kent Masters was elected as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer in April 2020. He joined the Albemarle board of directors in 2015 and served as Lead Independent Director from 2018 until April 2020. Prior to joining Albemarle, Mr. Masters served as Operating Partner of Advent International, an international private equity group. Prior to Advent, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Foster Wheeler AG, a global engineering and construction contractor and power equipment supplier, when Foster Wheeler AG was acquired by Amec plc to form Amec Foster Wheeler plc. He is also a former member of
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the executive board of Linde AG, a global leader in manufacturing and sales of industrial gases, with responsibility for the Americas, Africa, and the South Pacific.
Karen G. Narwold joined us in September of 2010 and currently serves as Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. Ms. Narwold has over 25 years of legal, management and business experience with global industrial and chemical companies. After five years in private practice, she served as Vice President, General Counsel, Human Resources and Secretary of GrafTech International Ltd., a global graphite and carbon manufacturer and former subsidiary of Union Carbide. She then served as Vice President and Strategic Counsel of Barzel Industries, a North American steel processor and distributor. Prior to joining Albemarle, Ms. Narwold served as Special Counsel with Kelley Drye & Warren LLP and with Symmetry Advisors where she worked in the areas of strategic, financial and capital structure planning and restructuring for public and private companies. Ms. Narwold was appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of Ingevity Corporation on February 20, 2019.
Scott A. Tozier was elected as our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer effective January 2011. Mr. Tozier also served as our Chief Accounting Officer from January 2013 until February 2014. Mr. Tozier has over 25 years of diversified international financial management experience. Following four years of assurance services with the international firm Ernst & Young, LLP, Mr. Tozier joined Honeywell International, Inc., where his 16 year career spanned senior financial positions in the U.S., Australia and Europe. His roles of increasing responsibilities included management of financial planning, analysis and reporting, global credit and treasury services and Chief Financial Officer of Honeywell’s Transportation Systems, Turbo Technologies and Building Solutions divisions. Most recently, Mr. Tozier served as Vice President of Finance, Operations and Transformation of Honeywell International, Inc. Mr. Tozier has served as a member of the board of directors of Garrett Motion Inc. since October 2018.
Melissa Anderson joined Albemarle as Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer in January 2021. Prior to joining Albemarle, Ms. Anderson served as Executive Vice President, Administration and Chief Human Resources Officer at Duke Energy, an American electric power holding company based in North Carolina. Previous to that role, she held the role of Senior Vice President, Human Resources, for Domtar Corporation in South Carolina. Her previous experience also includes 17 years with IBM in progressive Human Resources leadership roles. Ms. Anderson serves on the board of Vulcan Materials and as Chair of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world's largest HR professional association. She is also a member of the advisory board for the Center for Executive Succession at the University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business.
John C. Barichivich III was elected Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer effective November 2019. Mr. Barichivich has worked for the Company since 2007, holding various staff and leadership positions of increasing responsibility. Most recently, Mr. Barichivich served as Chief Financial Officer Vice President Finance, Purchasing, and S&OP Catalysts GBU since February 2019. Between January 2016 and February 2019, Mr. Barichivich acted as Vice President - Finance, Bromine Specialties global business unit, and he previously served as Vice President of Finance, Catalysts global business unit from September 2012 until December 2015. Mr. Barichivich was also the Director of Finance for the Albemarle shared service centers and he started his career with Albemarle as the Operations Controller for the Polymer Solutions business. Prior to Albemarle, Mr. Barichivich held a number of positions, including Director of Finance at the Home Depot, CFO Sensors SBE at PerkinElmer, and Manager of FP&A at General Electric. Mr. Barichivich began his career at Georgia Pacific, where he worked as an internal auditor and was a financial analyst supporting the restructuring of the Distribution Division.
Raphael Crawford was appointed President, Catalysts Global Business Unit in 2018. Mr. Crawford joined Albemarle in 2012 as Vice President of the Performance Catalysts Solutions unit, and the additional responsibility of Managing Director for Rockwood Lithium GmbH after the Rockwood acquisition. In 2015, Mr. Crawford was appointed President of the Bromine Specialties business unit until being named to his current role. Prior to Albemarle, Mr. Crawford served as the Director of Global Marketing and Business Development for Dow Coating Materials, a global business unit of The Dow Chemical Company. He also served as the Global Commercial Director and Global Asset Director for Dow Water and Process Solutions, following the acquisition of Rohm and Haas Company. Previously, Crawford held various strategic marketing and commercial roles at Rohm and Haas. Prior to Rohm and Haas, Mr. Crawford worked at Campbell Soup Company as a Marketing Manager. He began his career at SNET Telecommunications where he served in several capacities including new ventures, finance and marketing. Mr. Crawford is a member of the board of directors of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) association, where he had served as chairman of the Petrochemical Members Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee.
Netha Johnson joined Albemarle as President, Bromine Global Business Unit in 2018. Mr. Johnson has more than 20 years of diverse leadership experience, both domestically and internationally, including having worked extensively in
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Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries
Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan and Germany. Prior to joining Albemarle, Mr. Johnson served in several progressive leadership roles with 3M Company. Most recently, he served as Vice President and General Manager, Electrical Markets Division, where he was directly responsible for 3M’s electrical and renewable energy solutions. Prior to that, he served as 3M’s Vice President, Advanced Materials Division. In this role, he was responsible for three distinct businesses comprising the Advanced Material division, which provided world-leading, innovative solutions in fluoropolymer chemicals, advanced ceramics and light-weighting materials. Preceding his business career, Mr. Johnson served as a U.S. Naval Officer. Mr. Johnson has served as a member of the board of directors of Xcel Energy, Inc. since March 2020.
Eric Norris was appointed President, Lithium Global Business Unit in August 2018. Mr. Norris joined Albemarle in January 2018 as Chief Strategy Officer. In this role, he managed the company’s strategic planning, M&A, and corporate business development programs as well as its investor relations efforts. Prior to joining Albemarle, Mr. Norris served as President of Health and Nutrition for FMC Corporation. Following FMC’s announcement to acquire DuPont Agricultural Chemical assets, he led the divestiture of FMC Health and Nutrition to DuPont. Previously, Mr. Norris served as Vice President and Global Business Director for FMC Health and Nutrition, and Vice President and Global Business Director for FMC Lithium. During his 16-year FMC career, he served in additional leadership roles including Investor Relations, Corporate Development and Director of FMC Healthcare Ventures. Prior to FMC, Mr. Norris founded and led an internet-based firm offering formulation and design tools to the chemical industry. Previously, he served in a variety of roles for Rohm and Haas Company including sales, marketing, strategic planning and investor relations.

PART II

Item 5.Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
Our common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “ALB.” There were 116,632,439 shares of common stock held by 2,279 shareholders of record as of February 12, 2021. We expect to continue to declare and pay dividends to our shareholders in the future, however, dividends are declared solely at the discretion of our Board of Directors and there is no guarantee that the Board of Directors will continue to declare dividends in the future.
Stock Performance Graph
The graph below shows the cumulative total shareholder return assuming the investment of $100 in our common stock on December 31, 2015 and the reinvestment of all dividends thereafter. The information contained in the graph below is furnished and therefore not to be considered “filed” with the SEC, and is not incorporated by reference into any document that incorporates this Annual Report on Form 10-K by reference.
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Item 6.[Removed and Reserved]


Item 7.Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

Forward-looking Statements
Some of the information presented in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the documents incorporated by reference, may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations, which are in turn based on assumptions that we believe are reasonable based on our current knowledge of our business and operations. We have used words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “should,” “would,” “will” and variations of such words and similar expressions to identify such forward-looking statements.
These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions, which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. There can be no assurance that our actual results will not differ materially from the results and expectations expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the outlook expressed or implied in any forward-looking statement include, without limitation, information related to:
changes in economic and business conditions;
changes in financial and operating performance of our major customers and industries and markets served by us;
the timing of orders received from customers;
the gain or loss of significant customers;
competition from other manufacturers;
changes in the demand for our products or the end-user markets in which our products are sold;
limitations or prohibitions on the manufacture and sale of our products;
availability of raw materials;
increases in the cost of raw materials and energy, and our ability to pass through such increases to our customers;
changes in our markets in general;
fluctuations in foreign currencies;
changes in laws and government regulation impacting our operations or our products;
the occurrence of regulatory actions, proceedings, claims or litigation;
the occurrence of cyber-security breaches, terrorist attacks, industrial accidents, natural disasters or climate change;
hazards associated with chemicals manufacturing;
the inability to maintain current levels of product or premises liability insurance or the denial of such coverage;
political unrest affecting the global economy, including adverse effects from terrorism or hostilities;
political instability affecting our manufacturing operations or joint ventures;
changes in accounting standards;
the inability to achieve results from our global manufacturing cost reduction initiatives as well as our ongoing continuous improvement and rationalization programs;
changes in the jurisdictional mix of our earnings and changes in tax laws and rates;
changes in monetary policies, inflation or interest rates that may impact our ability to raise capital or increase our cost of funds, impact the performance of our pension fund investments and increase our pension expense and funding obligations;
volatility and uncertainties in the debt and equity markets;
technology or intellectual property infringement, including through cyber-security breaches, and other innovation risks;
decisions we may make in the future;
the ability to successfully execute, operate and integrate acquisitions and divestitures;
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Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries
uncertainties as to the duration and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
the other factors detailed from time to time in the reports we file with the SEC.
We assume no obligation to provide revisions to any forward-looking statements should circumstances change, except as otherwise required by securities and other applicable laws. The following discussion should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The following is a discussion and analysis of our results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018. A discussion of our consolidated financial condition and sources of additional capital is included under a separate heading “Financial Condition and Liquidity.”

Overview
We are a leading global developer, manufacturer and marketer of highly-engineered specialty chemicals that are designed to meet our customers’ needs across a diverse range of end markets. We believe our purposes is making the world safe and sustainable by powering the potential of people. The end markets we serve include energy storage, petroleum refining, consumer electronics, construction, automotive, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, crop protection and custom chemistry services. We believe that our commercial and geographic diversity, technical expertise, innovative capability, flexible, low-cost global manufacturing base, experienced management team and strategic focus on our core base technologies will enable us to maintain leading market positions in those areas of the specialty chemicals industry in which we operate.
Secular trends favorably impacting demand within the end markets that we serve combined with our diverse product portfolio, broad geographic presence and customer-focused solutions will continue to be key drivers of our future earnings growth. We continue to build upon our existing green solutions portfolio and our ongoing mission to provide innovative, yet commercially viable, clean energy products and services to the marketplace to contribute to our sustainable revenue. For example, our Lithium business contributes to the growth of clean miles driven with electric miles and more efficient use of renewable energy through grid storage; Bromine Specialties enables the prevention of fires starting in electronic equipment, greater fuel efficiency from rubber tires and the reduction of emissions from coal fired power plants; and the Catalysts business creates efficiency of natural resources through more usable products from a single barrel of oil, enables safer, greener production of alkylates used to produce more environmentally-friendly fuels, and reduced emissions through cleaner transportation fuels. We believe our disciplined cost reduction efforts and ongoing productivity improvements, among other factors, position us well to take advantage of strengthening economic conditions as they occur, while softening the negative impact of the current challenging global economic environment.

2020 Highlights
In the first quarter of 2020, we increased our quarterly dividend for the 26th consecutive year, to $0.385 per share. In February 2020, we were recognized by being named to the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index.
On April 20, 2020 we announced that J. Kent Masters was elected Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Retired former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Luke Kissam continues to serve on the Board of Directors through the annual meeting of shareholders in 2021, as he was re-elected at our 2020 annual meeting of shareholders on May 5, 2020.
On May 11, 2020, we amended our revolving, unsecured credit agreement dated as of June 21, 2018, as amended on
August 14, 2019 (the “2018 Credit Agreement”), and our unsecured credit facility entered into on August 14, 2019
(the “2019 Credit Facility”) (together the “Credit Agreements”) to modify the financial covenant in the Credit
Agreements. The modified covenant is based on net funded debt to consolidated EBITDA, with a maximum ratio to
4.00:1 for the fiscal quarter ending June 30, 2020, 4.50:1 for the fiscal quarters ending September 30, 2020 through
September 30, 2021, decreasing to 4.00:1 times for the fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2021, and 3.50:1 thereafter,
among other changes.
In September 2020, it was announced that we have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) as a critical partner for two lithium research projects over three years through a Battery Manufacturing Lab Call. Albemarle will work in conjunction with two DOE labs on the approved projects.
In December 2020, we entered into an amendment and restatement of the 2019 Credit Facility to, among other changes, (a) extend the final maturity date of the outstanding loans under the 2019 Credit Facility to April 2023, (b) change the applicable margin for the outstanding loans under the 2019 Credit Facility to LIBOR plus an applicable margin which ranges from 0.875% to 1.625%, depending on the Company’s credit rating and (c) provide for an additional term loan commitment of $500 million.
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Achieved $80 million of sustainable cost savings in 2020 under our previously announced cost-reduction program. We expect to deliver a run rate of more than $120 million in sustainable savings by the end of 2021, an increase from the previous estimate of approximately $100 million.
We achieved earnings of $375.8 million during 2020 as compared to $533.2 million for 2019. Cash flows from operations in 2020 were $798.9 million up 11% from 2019. In addition, earnings for 2020 includes pension and other postretirement benefit (“OPEB”) actuarial losses of $40.9 million after income taxes, compared to pension and OPEB actuarial losses of $21.1 million after income taxes in 2019.

Outlook
The current global business environment presents a diverse set of opportunities and challenges in the markets we serve. In particular, the market for lithium battery and energy storage, particularly that for EVs, remains strong, providing the opportunity to continue to develop high quality and innovative products while managing the high cost of expanding capacity. The other markets we serve continue to present various opportunities for value and growth as we have positioned ourselves to manage the impact on our business of changing global conditions, such as slow and uneven global growth, currency exchange volatility, crude oil price fluctuation, a dynamic pricing environment, an ever-changing landscape in electronics, the continuous need for cutting edge catalysts and technology by our refinery customers and increasingly stringent environmental standards. Amidst these dynamics, we believe our business fundamentals are sound and that we are strategically well-positioned as we remain focused on increasing sales volumes, optimizing and improving the value of our portfolio primarily through pricing and product development, managing costs and delivering value to our customers and shareholders. We believe that our businesses remain well-positioned to capitalize on new business opportunities and long-term trends driving growth within our end markets and to respond quickly to changes in economic conditions in these markets.
Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on overall global economic conditions. While we have not seen a material impact to our operations to date, the ultimate impact on our business will depend on the length and severity of the outbreak throughout the world. All of our information technology systems are running as designed and all sites are operating at normal capacity while we continue to comply with all government and health agency recommendations and requirements, as well as protecting the safety of our employees and communities. We believe we have sufficient inventory to continue to produce at current levels, however, government mandated shutdowns could impact our ability to acquire additional materials and disrupt our customers’ purchases. At this time we cannot predict the expected overall financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, but we are planning for various economic scenarios and continue to make efforts to protect the safety of our employees and the health of our business.
Lithium: We expect results to be flat year-over-year during 2021 in Lithium, due mainly to pricing pressure in certain markets and higher unit costs from plant start-ups at La Negra, Chile and Kemerton, Western Australia, offset by modest volume growth and increased productivity at our existing plants. There is no new capacity coming online during 2021 to drive significant additional sales volume, although we expect our new plants in La Negra and Kemerton to begin producing sales in 2022. In addition, we have seen reduced demand in the glass and ceramics markets, which has led to reduced sales. In the third quarter of 2020 we announced idling actions at certain plants, however, we have since restarted those facilities. EV sales have started to rebound after a marked slowdown during the second quarter of 2020, with full year 2020 showing a healthy increase in total EV sales over the prior year. We continue to keep the Wodgina spodumene mine idled until demand supports bringing the mine back to production.
On a longer-term basis, we believe that demand for lithium will continue to grow as new lithium applications advance and the use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and full battery electric vehicles increases. This demand for lithium is supported by a favorable backdrop of steadily declining lithium ion battery costs, increasing battery performance, continuing significant investments in the battery and EV supply chain by our customers and automotive OEM’s, favorable global public policy toward e-mobility/renewable energy usage, and additional stimulus measures taken in Europe in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that we expect to bolster EV demand. Our outlook is also bolstered by long-term supply agreements with key strategic customers, reflecting our standing as a preferred global lithium partner, highlighted by our scale, access to geographically diverse, low-cost resources and long-term track record of reliability of supply and operating execution.
Bromine Specialties: We expect both net sales and profitability to be modestly higher in 2021, as we recover from the lower demand due to shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing cost savings initiatives. While we have not experienced a material impact from the COVID-19 pandemic to date, sales in 2020 were adversely impacted and we are likely to see continued adverse impacts into 2021.
On a longer-term basis, we continue to believe that improving global standards of living, widespread digitization, increasing demand for data management capacity and the potential for increasingly stringent fire safety regulations in
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developing markets are likely to drive continued demand for fire safety products. Our long-term drilling outlook is uncertain at this time and will follow a long-term trajectory in line with oil prices. We are focused on profitably growing our globally competitive bromine and derivatives production network to serve all major bromine consuming products and markets. The combination of our solid, long-term business fundamentals, strong cost position, product innovations and effective management of raw material costs will enable us to manage our business through end-market challenges and to capitalize on opportunities that are expected with favorable market trends in select end markets.
Catalysts: Total Catalysts results in 2021 are expected to be flat year-over-year, with PCS improving over lower 2020 levels. We expect 2021 refining catalyst volumes to be lower year-over-year resulting from a recent change in customer order patterns in North America. The FCC market is expected to gradually recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in line with increased travel and depletion of global gasoline inventories, however, demand may not return to normal levels until late 2022 at the earliest. HPC demand tends to be lumpier than FCC demand and is also expected to continue to be negatively impacted as refiners defer spending into 2021 and 2022.
On a longer-term basis, we believe increased global demand for transportation fuels, new refinery start-ups and ongoing adoption of cleaner fuels will be the primary drivers of growth in our Catalysts business. We believe delivering superior end-use performance continues to be the most effective way to create sustainable value in the refinery catalysts industry. We believe our technologies continue to provide significant performance and financial benefits to refiners challenged to meet tighter regulations around the world, including those managing new contaminants present in North America tight oil, and those in the Middle East and Asia seeking to use heavier feedstock while pushing for higher propylene yields. Longer-term, we believe that the global crude supply will get heavier and more sour, a trend that bodes well for our catalysts portfolio. With superior technology and production capacities, and expected growth in end market demand, we believe that Catalysts remains well-positioned for the future. In PCS, we expect growth on a longer-term basis in our organometallic business due to growing global demand for plastics driven by rising standards of living and infrastructure spending. As previously announced, we are pursuing opportunities to divest PCS.
All Other: The fine chemistry services (“FCS”) business is reported outside the Company’s reportable segments as it does not fit in the Company’s core businesses. We expect the near future prospects for the FCS business to continue to be positively impacted by the timing of customer orders in a strong pharmaceutical and agriculture contract manufacturing environment. As previously announced, we are pursuing opportunities to divest our FCS business.
Corporate: We continue to focus on cash generation, working capital management and process efficiencies. We expect our global effective tax rate will vary based on the locales in which income is actually earned and remains subject to potential volatility from changing legislation in the U.S. and other tax jurisdictions. On February 8, 2021, we completed an underwritten public offering of 8,496,733 shares of our common stock, par value $0.01 per share, at a price to the public of $153.00 per share. The Company also granted to the Underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 1,274,509 shares for a period of 30 days, which was exercised.The total gross proceeds from this offering were approximately $1.5 billion, before deducting expenses, underwriting discounts and commissions. We intend to use the net proceeds of the offering primarily to fund growth capital expenditures, such as the construction and expansion of lithium operations in Australia, Chile and Silver Peak, Nevada, and opportunities in China. We also intend to use the net proceeds for debt repayment in the short term and other general corporate purposes.
Actuarial gains and losses related to our defined benefit pension and OPEB plan obligations are reflected in Corporate as a component of non-operating pension and OPEB plan costs under mark-to-market accounting. Results for the year ended December 31, 2020 include an actuarial loss of $52.3 million ($40.9 million after income taxes), as compared to a loss of $29.3 million ($21.1 million after income taxes) for the year ended December 31, 2019.
We remain committed to evaluating the merits of any opportunities that may arise for acquisitions or other business development activities that will complement our business footprint. Additional information regarding our products, markets and financial performance is provided at our website, www.albemarle.com. Our website is not a part of this document nor is it incorporated herein by reference.

Results of Operations
The following data and discussion provides an analysis of certain significant factors affecting our results of operations during the periods included in the accompanying consolidated statements of income.
Discussion of our results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018 can be found in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019.
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Comparison of 2020 to 2019
Selected Financial Data
Net Sales
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Net sales3,128,909 3,589,427 (460,518)(13)%
$245.5 million of lower sales volume from each of our reportable segments, partially offset by FCS growth
$219.3 million of unfavorable pricing primarily driven by Lithium
$4.4 million of favorable currency translation resulting from the weaker U.S. Dollar against various currencies

Gross Profit
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Gross profit$994,853 $1,257,778 $(262,925)(21)%
Gross profit margin31.8 %35.0 %
Lower sales volume from each of our reportable segments and unfavorable pricing impacts primarily driven by Lithium
Increased freight costs in Catalysts
Lower commission expenses in Chile resulting from the lower pricing in Lithium
Unfavorable currency exchange impacts resulting from the stronger U.S. Dollar against various currencies

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Selling, general and administrative expenses$429,827 $533,368 $(103,541)(19)%
Percentage of Net sales13.7 %14.9 %
Productivity improvements and a reduction in professional fees and other administrative costs, including those resulting from the Company’s previously announced cost savings initiative
$64.8 million of stamp duties levied on assets purchased related to the Wodgina Project in 2019
$13.3 million increase in severance expenses as part of business reorganization plans

Research and Development Expenses
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Research and development expenses$59,214 $58,287 $927 %
Percentage of Net sales1.9 %1.6 %
Research and development spend in line with prior year

Interest and Financing Expenses
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Interest and financing expenses$(73,116)$(57,695)$(15,421)27 %
Increased debt balance in 2020, primarily related to the funding of the Wodgina Project acquisition in the fourth quarter of 2019 and Credit Agreement draws in 2020
2019 included a loss on early extinguishment of debt of $4.8 million representing the tender premiums, fees, unamortized discounts and unamortized deferred financing costs from the redemption of the 2010 Senior Notes
The increase was partially offset by higher capitalized interest from continued high capital expenditures in 2020


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Other Expenses, Net
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Other expenses, net$(59,177)$(45,478)$(13,699)30 %
$11.1 million gain related to the sale of land in Pasadena, Texas in 2019
$7.2 million gain related to the sale of our ownership percentage in the SOCC joint venture
$3.0 million increase in foreign exchange losses
$40.7 million of pension and OPEB costs (including mark-to-market actuarial losses of $52.3 million) in 2020 as compared to $27.0 million of pension and OPEB costs (including mark-to-market actuarial losses of $29.3 million) in 2019
The mark-to-market actuarial loss in 2020 is primarily attributable to a decrease in the weighted-average discount rate to 2.50% from 3.56% for our U.S. pension plans and to 0.86% from 1.33% for our foreign pension plans to reflect market conditions as of the December 31, 2020 measurement date. This was partially offset by a higher return on pension plan assets in 2020 than was expected, as a result of overall market and investment portfolio performance. The weighted-average actual return on our U.S. and foreign pension plan assets was 13.15% versus an expected return of 6.52%.
The mark-to-market actuarial loss in 2019 is primarily attributable to a decrease in the weighted-average discount rate to 3.56% from 4.59% for our U.S. pension plans and to 1.33% from 2.15% for our foreign pension plans to reflect market conditions as of the December 31, 2019 measurement date. This was partially offset by a higher return on pension plan assets in 2019 than was expected, as a result of overall market and investment portfolio performance. The weighted-average actual return on our U.S. and foreign pension plan assets was 15.82% versus an expected return of 6.72%.

Income Tax Expense
20202019$ Change% Change
Income Tax Expense$54,425 $88,161 $(33,736)(38)%
Effective income tax rate14.6 %15.7 %
Change in geographic mix of earnings, mainly attributable to our share of income of our JBC joint venture, a Free Zones company under the laws of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
2020 includes discrete tax benefits for changes to uncertain tax positions, excess tax benefits realized from stock-based compensation arrangements, and return to accrual adjustments
2019 includes discrete tax benefits of $15.0 million related to uncertain tax positions, primarily from seeking treaty relief from the competent authority to prevent double taxation

Equity in Net Income of Unconsolidated Investments
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Equity in net income of unconsolidated investments$127,521 $129,568 $(2,047)(2)%
Lower equity income reported by Windfield, our Lithium segment joint venture, primarily driven by lower volume and pricing
$17.3 million charge in 2019 representing our 49% share of a tax settlement between Windfield and an Australian taxing authority, offset in Income tax expense
Approximately $16 million of foreign currency gains from the Windfield joint venture in 2020

Net Income Attributable to Noncontrolling Interests
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests$(70,851)$(71,129)$278 — %
Decrease in consolidated income related to our JBC joint venture due to lower sales volume


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Net Income Attributable to Albemarle Corporation
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Net income attributable to Albemarle Corporation$375,764 $533,228 $(157,464)(30)%
Percentage of Net Sales12.0 %14.9 %
Basic earnings per share$3.53 $5.03 $(1.50)(30)%
Diluted earnings per share$3.52 $5.02 $(1.50)(30)%
Decrease primarily due to decreased sales volume in each of our reportable segments and unfavorable price impacts in Lithium
Increase in mark-to-market actuarial losses due to lower discount rates
Increased interest expense from higher debt balances in 2020
Lower equity in net income of unconsolidated investments from the Talison joint venture
Productivity improvements and a reduction in professional fees and other administrative costs, including those resulting from our previously announced cost savings initiative
$64.8 million of stamp duties levied on assets purchased related to the Wodgina Project in 2019

Other Comprehensive Income (Loss), Net of Tax
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Other comprehensive income (loss), net of tax$69,850 $(45,520)$115,370 *
Foreign currency translation
$100,389 $(62,031)$162,420 *
2020 included favorable movements in the Euro of approximately $84 million, the Chinese Renminbi of approximately $22 million, the Taiwanese Dollar of approximately $7 million, the Japanese Yen of approximately $5 million and the Korean Won of approximately $4 million, partially offset by unfavorable movements in the Brazilian Real of approximately $19 million and a net unfavorable variance in various other currencies totaling approximately $2 million
2019 included unfavorable movements in the Euro of approximately $52 million, the Chinese Renminbi of approximately $6 million, the Brazilian Real of approximately $4 million and a net unfavorable variance in various other currencies totaling approximately less than $1 million
Cash flow hedge
$1,602 $4,847 $(3,245)(67)%
Net investment hedge
$(34,185)$8,441 $(42,626)*
Percentage calculation is not meaningful
Segment Information Overview. We have identified three reportable segments according to the nature and economic characteristics of our products as well as the manner in which the information is used internally by the Company’s chief operating decision maker to evaluate performance and make resource allocation decisions. Our reportable business segments consist of: (1) Lithium, (2) Bromine Specialties and (3) Catalysts.
Summarized financial information concerning our reportable segments is shown in the following tables. The “All Other” category includes only the fine chemistry services business, that does not fit into any of our core businesses.
The Corporate category is not considered to be a segment and includes corporate-related items not allocated to the operating segments. Pension and OPEB service cost (which represents the benefits earned by active employees during the period) and amortization of prior service cost or benefit are allocated to the reportable segments, All Other, and Corporate, whereas the remaining components of pension and OPEB benefits cost or credit (“Non-operating pension and OPEB items”) are included in Corporate. Segment data includes intersegment transfers of raw materials at cost and allocations for certain corporate costs.
The Company’s chief operating decision maker uses adjusted EBITDA (as defined below) to assess the ongoing performance of the Company’s business segments and to allocate resources. The Company defines adjusted EBITDA as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, as adjusted on a consistent basis for certain non-recurring or unusual items in a balanced manner and on a segment basis. These non-recurring or unusual items may include acquisition and integration related costs, gains or losses on sales of businesses, restructuring charges, facility divestiture charges, non-operating pension and OPEB items and other significant non-recurring items. In addition, management uses adjusted EBITDA for business planning purposes and as a significant component in the calculation of performance-based compensation for management and other employees. The Company has reported adjusted EBITDA because management believes it provides transparency to investors and enables period-to-period comparability of financial performance. Adjusted EBITDA is a financial
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measure that is not required by, or presented in accordance with, U.S. GAAP. Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered as an alternative to Net income attributable to Albemarle Corporation, the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP, or any other financial measure reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

Year Ended December 31,Percentage Change
2020%2019%2020 vs. 2019
(In thousands, except percentages)
Net sales:
Lithium$1,144,778 36.6 %$1,358,170 37.8 %(16)%
Bromine Specialties964,962 30.8 %1,004,216 28.0 %(4)%
Catalysts797,914 25.5 %1,061,817 29.6 %(25)%
All Other221,255 7.1 %165,224 4.6 %34 %
Total net sales$3,128,909 100.0 %$3,589,427 100.0 %(13)%
Adjusted EBITDA:
Lithium$393,093 48.0 %$524,934 50.6 %(25)%
Bromine Specialties323,605 39.5 %328,457 31.7 %(1)%
Catalysts130,134 15.9 %270,624 26.1 %(52)%
All Other84,821 10.4 %49,628 4.8 %71 %
Corporate(112,915)(13.8)%(136,862)(13.2)%(17)%
Total adjusted EBITDA$818,738 100.0 %$1,036,781 100.0 %(21)%


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See below for a reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA, the non-GAAP financial measure, from Net income attributable to Albemarle Corporation, the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP, (in thousands):
LithiumBromine SpecialtiesCatalystsReportable Segments TotalAll OtherCorporateConsolidated Total
2020
Net income (loss) attributable to Albemarle Corporation$277,711 $274,495 $80,149 $632,355 $76,323 $(332,914)$375,764 
Depreciation and amortization112,854 50,310 49,985 213,149 8,498 10,337 231,984 
Restructuring and other(a)
— — — — — 19,597 19,597 
Acquisition and integration related costs(b)
— — — — — 17,263 17,263 
Interest and financing expenses— — — — — 73,116 73,116 
Income tax expense— — — — — 54,425 54,425 
Non-operating pension and OPEB items— — — — — 40,668 40,668 
Other(c)
2,528 (1,200)— 1,328 — 4,593 5,921 
Adjusted EBITDA$393,093 $323,605 $130,134 $846,832 $84,821 $(112,915)$818,738 
2019
Net income (loss) attributable to Albemarle Corporation$341,767 $279,945 $219,686 $841,398 $41,188 $(349,358)$533,228 
Depreciation and amortization99,424 47,611 50,144 197,179 8,440 7,865 213,484 
Restructuring and other(a)
— — — — — 5,877 5,877 
Gain on sale of property(d)
— — — — — (14,411)(14,411)
Acquisition and integration related costs(b)
— — — — — 20,684 20,684 
Interest and financing expenses(e)
— — — — — 57,695 57,695 
Income tax expense— — — — — 88,161 88,161 
Non-operating pension and OPEB items— — — — — 26,970 26,970 
Stamp duty(f)
64,766 — — 64,766 — — 64,766 
Windfield tax settlement(g)
17,292 — — 17,292 — — 17,292 
Other(h)
1,685 901 794 3,380 — 19,655 23,035 
Adjusted EBITDA$524,934 $328,457 $270,624 $1,124,015 $49,628 $(136,862)$1,036,781 

(a)In 2020, we recorded severance expenses as part of business reorganization plans, impacting each of our businesses and Corporate, primarily in the U.S., Belgium, Germany and with our Jordanian joint venture partner. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we recorded severance expenses of $0.7 million in Cost of goods sold, $19.2 million in SG&A and a $0.3 million gain in Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests for the portion of severance expense allocated to our Jordanian joint venture partner. The balance of unpaid severance is recorded in Accrued expenses and is primarily expected to be paid through 2021. In addition, we recorded severance payments as part of a business reorganization plans of $5.9 million recorded in Selling, general and administrative expenses for the year ended December 31, 2019.
(b)Costs related to the acquisition, integration and potential divestitures for various significant projects, including the acquisition of the Wodgina Project in 2019. These costs were primarily recorded in SG&A.
(c)Included amounts for the year ended December 31, 2020 recorded in:
Cost of goods sold - $1.3 million of expense related to a legal matter as part of a prior acquisition in our Lithium business.
SG&A - $3.1 million of shortfall contributions for our multiemployer plan financial improvement plan and $3.8 million of a net expense primarily relating to the increase of environmental reserves at non-operating businesses we have previously divested.
Other expenses, net - $7.2 million gain related to the sale of our ownership percentage in the SOCC joint venture, $3.6 million of a net gain primarily relating to the sale of intangible assets in our Bromine business and property in Germany not used as part of our operations and a $2.5 million net gain resulting from the settlement of legal matters related to a business sold or a site in the process of being sold, partially offset by $9.6 million of losses resulting from the adjustment of indemnifications related to previously disposed businesses and $1.2 million of expenses related to other costs outside of our regular operations.
(d)Gain of $3.3 million recorded in Selling, general and administrative expenses related to the release of liabilities as part of the sale of a property and $11.1 million gain recorded in Other expenses, net related to the sale of land in Pasadena, Texas not used as part of our operations.
(e)Included in Interest and financing expenses is a loss on early extinguishment of debt of $4.8 million. See Note 14, “Long-Term Debt,” to our consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this report for additional information.
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(f)See “Selling, general and administrative expenses” on page 40 for a description of these costs.
(g)Represents our 49% share of a tax settlement between our Windfield joint venture and an Australian taxing authority, recorded in Equity in net income of unconsolidated investments (net of tax).
(h)Included amounts for the year ended December 31, 2019 recorded in:
Cost of goods sold - $0.7 million related to non-routine labor and compensation related costs in Chile that are outside normal compensation arrangements.
Selling, general and administrative expenses - $1.8 million of shortfall contributions for our multiemployer plan financial improvement plan, $0.9 million of a write off of uncollectible accounts receivable from a terminated distributor in the Bromine Specialties segment, $1.0 million related to the settlement of terminated agreements, primarily in the Catalysts segment, and $0.8 million related to the settlement of an ongoing audit in the Lithium segment.
Other expenses, net - $3.1 million of unrecoverable vendor costs outside the operations of the business related to the construction of the future Kemerton production facility, $9.8 million of a net loss primarily resulting from the adjustment of indemnifications and other liabilities related to previously disposed businesses or purchase accounting, $3.6 million of asset retirement obligation charges related to the update of an estimate at a site formerly owned by Albemarle, and $1.2 million of non-operating pension costs from our 50% interest in JBC.

Lithium
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Net sales$1,144,778 $1,358,170 $(213,392)(16)%
$208.7 million of unfavorable pricing impacts, primarily in battery- and tech-grade carbonate and hydroxide due to lower contract pricing reflecting 2020 price adjustments agreed to with customers
$1.9 million in lower sales volume, primarily in battery-grade carbonate due to higher inventory levels at certain customers and current economic conditions, partially offset by higher battery- and tech-grade hydroxide sales volume
$2.3 million of unfavorable currency translation resulting from the stronger U.S. Dollar against various currencies
Adjusted EBITDA$393,093 $524,934 $(131,841)(25)%
Unfavorable pricing impacts and lower sales volume
Lower equity in net income of unconsolidated investments from the Talison joint venture
Partially offset by productivity improvements and a reduction in professional fees and other administrative costs, including those resulting from the Company’s previously announced cost savings initiative
Lower commission expenses in Chile resulting from the lower pricing
$7.0 million of favorable currency translation resulting from a weaker Chilean Peso

Bromine Specialties
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Net sales$964,962 $1,004,216 $(39,254)(4)%
$54.9 million of lower sales volume related to lower demand resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic
$12.8 million of favorable pricing impacts in each bromine division
$2.6 million of favorable currency translation resulting from the weaker U.S. Dollar against various currencies
Adjusted EBITDA$323,605 $328,457 $(4,852)(1)%
Lower sales volume, partially offset by favorable pricing impacts and product mix
Partially offset by productivity improvements and a reduction in professional fees and other administrative costs, including those resulting from the Company’s previously announced cost savings initiative
$1.1 million of favorable currency translation resulting from the weaker U.S. Dollar against various currencies


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Catalysts
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Net sales$797,914 $1,061,817 $(263,903)(25)%
$255.4 million of lower sales volume, primarily from lower fuel demand due to stay at home orders and travel restrictions worldwide related to COVID-19 pandemic
$12.7 million of unfavorable pricing impacts, primarily in FCC
$4.1 million of favorable currency translation resulting from the weaker U.S. Dollar against various currencies
Adjusted EBITDA$130,134 $270,624 $(140,490)(52)%
Lower sales volume resulting from lower fuel demand and unfavorable pricing impacts
Increased freight costs
Partially offset by productivity improvements and a reduction in professional fees and other administrative costs, including those resulting from the Company’s previously announced cost savings initiative
$2.5 million of unfavorable currency translation resulting from the strong U.S. Dollar against various currencies

All Other
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Net sales$221,255 $165,224 $56,031 34 %
Higher sales volume in our FCS business
Adjusted EBITDA$84,821 $49,628 $35,193 71 %
Higher sales volume in our FCS business

Corporate
In thousands20202019$ Change% Change
Adjusted EBITDA$(112,915)$(136,862)$23,947 (17)%
Lower professional fees and other administrative costs resulting from our previously announced cost savings initiative
$16.2 million of favorable currency translation, primarily driven by foreign currency gains from our Talison joint venture

Summary of Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Estimates, Assumptions and Reclassifications
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements. Listed below are the estimates and assumptions that we consider to be critical in the preparation of our financial statements.
Property, Plant and Equipment. We assign the useful lives of our property, plant and equipment based upon our internal engineering estimates which are reviewed periodically. The estimated useful lives of our property, plant and equipment range from two to sixty years and depreciation is recorded on the straight-line method, with the exception of our mineral rights and reserves, which are depleted on a units-of-production method. We evaluate the recovery of our property, plant and equipment by comparing the net carrying value of the asset group to the undiscounted net cash flows expected to be generated from the use and eventual disposition of that asset group when events or changes in circumstances indicate that its carrying amount may not be recoverable. If the carrying amount of the asset group is not recoverable, the fair value of the asset group is measured and if the carrying amount exceeds the fair value, an impairment loss is recognized.
Acquisition Method of Accounting. We recognize the identifiable assets acquired, the liabilities assumed and any noncontrolling interest in the acquiree at their estimated fair values on the date of acquisition for acquired businesses. Determining the fair value of these items requires management’s judgment and the utilization of independent valuation specialists and involves the use of significant estimates and assumptions with respect to the timing and amounts of future cash flows and discount rates, among other items. When acquiring mineral reserves, the fair value is estimated using an excess earnings approach, which requires management to estimate future cash flows, net of capital investments in the specific operation. Management’s cash flow projections involved the use of significant estimates and assumptions with respect to the expected production of the mine over the estimated time period, sales prices, shipment volumes, and expected profit margins. The present value of the projected net cash flows represents the preliminary fair value assigned to mineral reserves. The
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discount rate is a significant assumption used in the valuation model. The judgments made in the determination of the estimated fair value assigned to the assets acquired, the liabilities assumed and any noncontrolling interest in the investee, as well as the estimated useful life of each asset and the duration of each liability, can materially impact the financial statements in periods after acquisition, such as through depreciation and amortization expense. For more information on our acquisitions and application of the acquisition method, see Note 2, “Acquisitions,” to our consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this report.
Income Taxes. We assume the deductibility of certain costs in our income tax filings, and we estimate the future recovery of deferred tax assets, uncertain tax positions and indefinite investment assertions.
Environmental Remediation Liabilities. We estimate and accrue the costs required to remediate a specific site depending on site-specific facts and circumstances. Cost estimates to remediate each specific site are developed by assessing (i) the scope of our contribution to the environmental matter, (ii) the scope of the anticipated remediation and monitoring plan and (iii) the extent of other parties’ share of responsibility.
Actual results could differ materially from the estimates and assumptions that we use in the preparation of our financial statements.
Revenue Recognition
Revenue is measured as the amount of consideration we expect to receive in exchange for transferring goods or providing services, and is recognized when performance obligations are satisfied under the terms of contracts with our customers. A performance obligation is deemed to be satisfied when control of the product or service is transferred to our customer. The transaction price of a contract, or the amount we expect to receive upon satisfaction of all performance obligations, is determined by reference to the contract’s terms and includes adjustments, if applicable, for any variable consideration, such as customer rebates, noncash consideration or consideration payable to the customer, although these adjustments are generally not material. Where a contract contains more than one distinct performance obligation, the transaction price is allocated to each performance obligation based on the standalone selling price of each performance obligation, although these situations do not occur frequently and are generally not built into our contracts. Any unsatisfied performance obligations are not material. Standalone selling prices are based on prices we charge to our customers, which in some cases is based on established market prices. Sales and other similar taxes collected from customers on behalf of third parties are excluded from revenue. Our payment terms are generally between 30 to 90 days, however, they vary by market factors, such as customer size, creditworthiness, geography and competitive environment.
All of our revenue is derived from contracts with customers, and almost all of our contracts with customers contain one performance obligation for the transfer of goods where such performance obligation is satisfied at a point in time. Control of a product is deemed to be transferred to the customer upon shipment or delivery. Significant portions of our sales are sold free on board shipping point or on an equivalent basis, while delivery terms of other transactions are based upon specific contractual arrangements. Our standard terms of delivery are generally included in our contracts of sale, order confirmation documents and invoices, while the timing between shipment and delivery generally ranges between 1 and 45 days. Costs for shipping and handling activities, whether performed before or after the customer obtains control of the goods, are accounted for as fulfillment costs.
The Company currently utilizes the following practical expedients, as permitted by Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers:
All sales and other pass-through taxes are excluded from contract value;
In utilizing the modified retrospective transition method, no adjustment was necessary for contracts that did not cross over the reporting year;
We will not consider the possibility of a contract having a significant financing component (which would effectively attribute a portion of the sales price to interest income) unless, if at contract inception, the expected payment terms (from time of delivery or other relevant criterion) are more than one year;
If our right to customer payment is directly related to the value of our completed performance, we recognize revenue consistent with the invoicing right; and
We expense as incurred all costs of obtaining a contract incremental to any costs/compensation attributable to individual product sales/shipments for contracts where the amortization period for such costs would otherwise be one year or less.
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Certain products we produce are made to our customer’s specifications where such products have no alternative use or would need significant rework costs in order to be sold to another customer. In management’s judgment, control of these arrangements is transferred to the customer at a point in time (upon shipment or delivery) and not over the time they are produced. Therefore revenue is recognized upon shipment or delivery of these products.
Costs incurred to obtain contracts with customers are not significant and are expensed immediately as the amortization period would be one year or less. When the Company incurs pre-production or other fulfillment costs in connection with an existing or specific anticipated contract and such costs are recoverable through margin or explicitly reimbursable, such costs are capitalized and amortized to Cost of goods sold on a systematic basis that is consistent with the pattern of transfer to the customer of the goods or services to which the asset relates, which is less than one year. We record bad debt expense in specific situations when we determine the customer is unable to meet its financial obligation.
Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets
We account for goodwill and other intangibles acquired in a business combination in conformity with current accounting guidance which requires goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets to not be amortized.
We test goodwill for impairment by comparing the estimated fair value of our reporting units to the related carrying value. Our reporting units are either our operating business segments or one level below our operating business segments for which discrete financial information is available and for which operating results are regularly reviewed by the business management. We estimate the fair value based on present value techniques involving future cash flows. Future cash flows for all reporting units include assumptions about revenue growth rates, adjusted EBITDA margins, discount rate as well as other economic or industry-related factors. For the Refining Solutions reporting unit, the revenue growth rates, adjusted EBITDA margins and the discount rate were deemed to be significant assumptions. Significant management judgment is involved in estimating these variables and they include inherent uncertainties since they are forecasting future events. We perform a sensitivity analysis by using a range of inputs to confirm the reasonableness of these estimates being used in the goodwill impairment analysis. We use a Weighted Average Cost of Capital (“WACC”) approach to determine our discount rate for goodwill recoverability testing. Our WACC calculation incorporates industry-weighted average returns on debt and equity from a market perspective. The factors in this calculation are largely external to the Company and, therefore, are beyond our control. We test our recorded goodwill for impairment in the fourth quarter of each year or upon the occurrence of events or changes in circumstances that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of our reporting units below their carrying amounts. The Company performed its annual goodwill impairment test as of October 31, 2020 and did not note any impairment indicators. As a result, the Company concluded there was no impairment as of that date.
We assess our indefinite-lived intangible assets, which include trade names and trademarks, for impairment annually and between annual tests if events or changes in circumstances indicate that it is more likely than not that the asset is impaired. The indefinite-lived intangible asset impairment standard allows us to first assess qualitative factors to determine if a quantitative impairment test is necessary. Further testing is only required if we determine, based on the qualitative assessment, that it is more likely than not that the indefinite-lived intangible asset’s fair value is less than its carrying amount. If we determine based on the qualitative assessment that it is more likely than not that the asset is impaired, an impairment test is performed by comparing the fair value of the indefinite-lived intangible asset to its carrying amount.
Definite-lived intangible assets, such as purchased technology, patents and customer lists, are amortized over their estimated useful lives generally for periods ranging from five to twenty-five years. Except for customer lists and relationships associated with the majority of our Lithium business, which are amortized using the pattern of economic benefit method, definite-lived intangible assets are amortized using the straight-line method. We evaluate the recovery of our definite-lived intangible assets by comparing the net carrying value of the asset group to the undiscounted net cash flows expected to be generated from the use and eventual disposition of that asset group when events or changes in circumstances indicate that its carrying amount may not be recoverable. If the carrying amount of the asset group is not recoverable, the fair value of the asset group is measured and if the carrying amount exceeds the fair value, an impairment loss is recognized. See Note 12, “Goodwill and Other Intangibles,” to our consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this report.
Resource Development Expenses
We incur costs in resource exploration, evaluation and development during the different phases of our resource development projects. Exploration costs incurred before the declaration of proven and probable resources are generally expensed as incurred. After proven and probable resources are declared, exploration, evaluation and development costs necessary to bring the property to commercial capacity or increase the capacity or useful life are capitalized. Any costs to maintain the production capacity in a property under production are expensed as incurred.
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Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries
Capitalized resource costs are depleted using the units-of-production method. Our resource development assets are evaluated for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable.
Pension Plans and Other Postretirement Benefits
Under authoritative accounting standards, assumptions are made regarding the valuation of benefit obligations and the performance of plan assets. As required, we recognize a balance sheet asset or liability for each of our pension and OPEB plans equal to the plan’s funded status as of the measurement date. The primary assumptions are as follows:
Discount Rate—The discount rate is used in calculating the present value of benefits, which is based on projections of benefit payments to be made in the future.
Expected Return on Plan Assets—We project the future return on plan assets based on prior performance and future expectations for the types of investments held by the plans as well as the expected long-term allocation of plan assets for these investments. These projected returns reduce the net benefit costs recorded currently.
Rate of Compensation Increase—For salary-related plans, we project employees’ annual pay increases, which are used to project employees’ pension benefits at retirement.
Mortality Assumptions—Assumptions about life expectancy of plan participants are used in the measurement of related plan obligations.
Actuarial gains and losses are recognized annually in our consolidated statements of income in the fourth quarter and whenever a plan is determined to qualify for a remeasurement during a fiscal year. The remaining components of pension and OPEB plan expense, primarily service cost, interest cost and expected return on assets, are recorded on a monthly basis. The market-related value of assets equals the actual market value as of the date of measurement.
During 2020, we made changes to assumptions related to discount rates and expected rates of return on plan assets. We consider available information that we deem relevant when selecting each of these assumptions.
Our U.S. defined benefit plans for non-represented employees are closed to new participants, with no additional benefits accruing under these plans as participants’ accrued benefits have been frozen. In selecting the discount rates for the U.S. plans, we consider expected benefit payments on a plan-by-plan basis. As a result, the Company uses different discount rates for each plan depending on the demographics of participants and the expected timing of benefit payments. For 2020, the discount rates were calculated using the results from a bond matching technique developed by Milliman, which matched the future estimated annual benefit payments of each respective plan against a portfolio of bonds of high quality to determine the discount rate. We believe our selected discount rates are determined using preferred methodology under authoritative accounting guidance and accurately reflect market conditions as of the December 31, 2020 measurement date.
In selecting the discount rates for the foreign plans, we look at long-term yields on AA-rated corporate bonds when available. Our actuaries have developed yield curves based on the yields of constituent bonds in the various indices as well as on other market indicators such as swap rates, particularly at the longer durations. For the Eurozone, we apply the Aon Hewitt yield curve to projected cash flows from the relevant plans to derive the discount rate. For the U.K., the discount rate is determined by applying the Aon Hewitt yield curve for typical schemes of similar duration to projected cash flows of Albemarle’s U.K. plan. In other countries where there is not a sufficiently deep market of high-quality corporate bonds, we set the discount rate by referencing the yield on government bonds of an appropriate duration.
At December 31, 2020, the weighted-average discount rate for the U.S. and foreign pension plans decreased to 2.50% and 0.86%, respectively, from 3.56% and 1.33%, respectively, at December 31, 2019 to reflect market conditions as of the December 31, 2020 measurement date. The discount rate for the OPEB plans at December 31, 2020 and 2019 was 2.49% and 3.53%, respectively.
In estimating the expected return on plan assets, we consider past performance and future expectations for the types of investments held by the plan as well as the expected long-term allocations of plan assets to these investments. For the years 2020 and 2019, the weighted-average expected rate of return on U.S. pension plan assets was 6.88%, and the weighted-average expected rate of return on foreign pension plan assets was 4.07% and 5.51%, respectively. Effective January 1, 2021, the weighted-average expected rate of return on U.S. and foreign pension plan assets is 6.88% and 4.12%, respectively.
In projecting the rate of compensation increase, we consider past experience in light of movements in inflation rates. At December 31, 2020 and 2019, the assumed weighted-average rate of compensation increase was 3.82% and 3.72%, respectively, for our foreign pension plans.

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