24 March 2003 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]Altana is reiterating its goal of accelerating growth in specialty chemicals through acquisitions after reporting improved profit margins in chemicals last year despite the global economic slowdown.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in its chemicals operation rose 9 percent last year to 146 million ($155 million) on a 4 percent rise in sales to 748 million. The EBITDA margin increased from 18.7 to 19.5 percent.
Sales by the additives and instruments business increased 7 percent to 304 million, while those of the electrical insulation business grew 3 percent to 223 million, and coatings and sales by the sealants operation grew by 2 percent to 221 million.
Matthias Wolfgruber, Altana Chemie's chief executive, told analysts at Bad Homburg, Germany, last week that the company expects single-digit growth in chemical sales and profits this year in local currencies.
"It seemed very clear that Altana will not only continue its strategy to acquire relatively smallish chemical companies but might even be inclined to strike a major deal," says Holger Blum, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt.
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