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Chemours falls on weak quarterly sales forecast after internal review

(Reuters) - Chemours shares fell as much as 15.8% on Thursday, after the chemical company forecast downbeat first-quarter sales and revised some past financial results following an internal review into management misconduct.

The review identified "material weaknesses" in its internal control over financial reporting and resulted in revisions of its balance sheet as of Dec. 31, 2022, and its cash flow statements for 2021 and 2022.

In its twice-delayed results announcement, Chemours forecast first-quarter net sales to be flat to down sequentially and capital expenditures of about $100 million.

It also forecast a 10% sequential decline in net sales for the titanium technologies segment due to seasonally weak demand for titanium, along with a drop in sales in its advanced performance materials segment.

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"We continue to believe many of Chemours's core businesses should see a recovery in 2024. However, with risk to the numbers and the heightened risk tied to the abrupt management changes, we expect Chemours to underperform the broader chemical sector," BMO analysts said.

Earlier this year, the internal review showed manipulation by some of its senior management to meet free cash flow targets tied to their incentives, resulting in its top three executives, including CEO Mark Newman, being placed on administrative leave.

The company later named chemical industry veteran Denise Dignam as CEO, a month after she took over the role on an interim basis.

"We suspect investors will be more focused on the risks surrounding the potential for further involvement from the SEC and the United States Attorney's Office," analysts at J.P. Morgan said in a note.

Going into the second quarter, however, Chemours expects a 15% increase in volumes in its titanium technologies segment, Dignam said on Thursday on a conference call.

The current average analyst rating on Chemours shares is "hold", according to LSEG data.

(Reporting by Seher Dareen in Bengaluru; Editing by Vijay Kishore and Devika Syamnath)