24 February 1997 00:00 [Source: ACN]
SOLVAY reported a 9% increase in consolidated net profits to BF13.6bn (US$394.3m) for 1996. Sales were up 3% at BF282.7bn.
All sectors reported sales growth except for plastics. Profits also increased for the peroxygens and processing sectors.
The health business moved forward to become the second biggest profit contributor after alkalis. Pressure on caustic soda prices eroded the alkali business profits compared with 1995, however. The plastics business saw profits plunge more than 50%.
PVC saw the most significant drop as European prices plunged 30% lower than the 1995 average. Margins for hdPE and PP were better. The second half saw gradual improvement in all plastics margins, and this is expected to continue into 1997, Solvay said.
Turnover benefited by around BF3.2bn from acquisitions, divestments and shutdowns during the year. Most recent was the announcement last month on the anticipated shutdown of the lossmaking chloralkali facility at Hallein, Austria, by end-1997.
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