US Rockwood sees first improvement in construction markets

03 June 2010 16:33  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--US specialty chemicals producer Rockwood has seen the first improvement in construction markets since the middle of 2007, chief executive Seifi Ghasemi said on Thursday.

“For the first time, in the last two months, we are seeing an improvement in our sales to the construction sector,” Ghasemi told analysts at a webcast investor conference in New York.

Much of Rockwood’s sales were toward the residential construction market, he said.

“We are seeing a strengthening, and that’s a very good sign,” he said. He noted the market had been under pressure for two-and-a-half years.

Last year, 13% of Rockwood’s $3bn (€2.5bn) in net sales went to construction markets.

Overall, Rockwood expected a strong second-quarter, after “coming back very strongly” in the first quarter, Ghasemi said.

Rockwood’s first-quarter net sales were $834m, up 26.3% from the 2009 first quarter, and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were $165m, up 51.1%.

Meanwhile, analysts said the US housing sector recovery should gain strength in the second half this year and into 2011 - assuming employment improves, consumers keep spending, the euro doesn’t fail and the US economy does not collapse under its increasing debt load.

For more on Rockwood go to ICIS company intelligence
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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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