Solvay more than doubles Q3 profit in absence of investment loss

29 October 2009 09:14  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Belgian chemicals and drugs maker Solvay announced on Thursday that it more than doubled its third-quarter net profit to €173m ($118m) from €75m in 2008 in the absence of heavy investment losses.

The results in the same period of last year included a loss of €256m from investments.

Sales for July to September 2009, meanwhile, declined 10% to €2.24bn as the company's chemicals and plastics businesses recorded lower revenues.

Operating profit from Solvay’s chemical operations fell 21% to €56m, while profit from plastics slumped 63% to €39m.

However, Solvay said there was steady quarter-on-quarter improvement in the financial numbers, particularly in plastics.  

Earnings from pharmaceuticals, which would be completely divested in the first quarter of 2010, soared 63% to €204m, Solvay said.

In the first nine months of the year, group net profit fell 17% year on year to €354m on sales of €6.29bn, down 13% year on year.

Group operating profit declined 30% to €592m over the same period, with profits from pharmaceuticals registering a 10% increase to €410m, the company said.

Solvay currently classifies its pharmaceutical business as discontinued operations until the completion of its sale early next year, when the company would generate a capital gain of about €1.7bn based on the latest estimate, it said.

Meanwhile, operating results for Solvay’s industrial activities “continued to be affected by the difficult economic environment”, it said.

“The chemicals sector held up well despite low demand and pressure on some prices, especially caustic soda,” it added.

Operating profit for chemicals in January to September 2009 fell 14% year on year to €178m, while plastics reported a €46m profit.

Solvay declared an interim net dividend of €0.90 a share.

($1 = €0.68)

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By: Pearl Bantillo
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