Chemicals maker Albemarle Corp on Monday reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on strong sales of catalysts used by petroleum refiners.

Sales of specialty materials have become a niche industry for Albermarle and its peers, with customers increasingly willing to pay more for them.

For the third quarter, Albermarle reported net income of $116.1 million, or $1.28 per share, compared with $93.7 million, or $1.02 per share, a year ago.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of $1.19 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 24 percent to $722.9 million. Analysts expected $721.8 million.

Sales of its catalysts rose 40 percent from the same period last year.

Albermarle also said that sales in its fine chemistry unit, which supplies material for the pharmaceutical industry, increased 30 percent to $179 million.

Its shares closed on Monday at $48.61 after gaining 4.5 percent. The stock has traded between $38.02 and $71.79 in the past 52 weeks.