06 May 2009 08:57 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--Clariant has reported a net loss of Swiss francs (Swfr) 91m ($80.5m, €60.3m) in the first quarter, down from profits of Swfr41m in the same period last year, due to low capacity utilisation and inventory devaluations, the Swiss specialty chemicals company said on Wednesday.
Sales dropped 24% in Swiss francs terms and by 19% in local currencies to Swfr 1.60bn from Swfr2.11bn in the first quarter of 2008. The company recorded an operating loss of Swfr68m compared with a profit of Swfr140m in the same period last year.
Clariant said the quarter was characterised by a steep decline in demand.
“Volumes fell 25%, resulting in extremely low capacity utilisations which were accentuated by the company's strong focus on cash flow generation by reducing inventories,” it said.
Margins were also negatively influenced by a substantial inventory devaluation resulting from a fast decline in raw material costs during the quarter, the company added.
“We do not assume a sustainable recovery in demand. In the short to mid term we will therefore accelerate restructuring and maintain cash generation as top priority,” said CEO Hariolf Kottmann.
The company estimated that restructuring costs in 2009 would be around Swfr200m-300m.
($1 = Swfr1.13/€1 = Swfr1.51)
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