UpdateDSM's Q4 net profit falls 43% in tough economic environment

29 February 2012 11:49  [Source: ICIS news]

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DSM Headquarters, GeleenLONDON (ICIS)--DSM’s fourth-quarter net profit fell by 43% year on year to €85m ($115m), partly on lower earnings from its performance materials business amid a challenging economic environment, the Dutch chemicals producer said on Wednesday.

Net sales in the fourth quarter of 2011 inched up by 1% to €2.23bn, DSM said in a statement.

DSM said that in the fourth quarter of 2011 economic growth in western Europe began to stall.

“The challenging economic environment impacted most materials sciences businesses, which in addition were affected by some inventory adjustments in the value chain,” the company said.

“Economic growth in high growth economies continued to be strong, but measures taken to manage emerging inflation, especially in China, had a negative impact on the availability of credit for some customers. This also impacted demand in Materials Sciences,” it added.

However, the group’s Nutrition segment was not impacted by the economic headwinds, DSM said.

Nutrition’s fourth-quarter sales increased 14% year on year to €865m driven by the acquisition of US nutritional oil firm Martek and higher volumes and prices across most of the businesses.

The segment’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in the fourth quarter grew by 18% to €193m.

Fourth-quarter sales in the group’s Pharma business fell 13% year on year – while its EBITDA dropped to €11m from €26m in the same period of 2010 – after DSM consolidated its anti-infective joint venture, DSM Sinochem Pharmaceuticals, it said.

In the group’s Performance Materials segment, fourth-quarter sales were down 2.0% to €627m because of lower volumes (-15%) in all businesses, which were only partly compensated for by higher pricing. The segment’s EBITDA fell 23% to €43m, mainly because of the lower performance of its subsidiary, DSM Dyneema.

DSM’s Polymer Intermediates segment reported a 22% year-on-year rise in sales to €467m in the fourth quarter, while its EBITDA rose 18% year on year to €79m.

The company said its Polymer Intermediates segment continued to benefit from a high global utilization rate, with prices 8% above the same quarter last year.

“Volumes were 12% higher due to improved manufacturing performance [compared with the fourth quarter last year],” it added.

For the whole of 2011, DSM net profit increased by 61% to €814m, with net sales up by 1.6% to €9.19bn, it said.

EBITDA at its Polymer Intermediates operations in 2011 jumped 70% year on year to €380m, while its Performance Materials segment earnings grew 3.5%, the company said.

“2011 was another strong year for DSM despite the challenges of the global economy, adverse currency movements and high raw material costs,” said Feike Sijbesma, CEO and chairman of the DSM Managing Board.

DSM said it is currently experiencing a weak economic environment, especially in Europe – which is expected to improve in the second half of the year – while high growth economies continue to grow fast, albeit at a slower pace than in previous years. However, DSM expects the second half of the year to be stronger than the first half.

“Trading conditions in Materials Sciences continue to be volatile and the end market outlook is uncertain owing to weak consumer sentiment in some of DSM’s key geographies. However, based on current insights EBITDA of the Performance Materials cluster is expected to be somewhat higher than in 2011,” it said.

“For Polymer Intermediates another strong year is expected, at a level above the historical average, but EBITDA will be clearly lower than the exceptional result in 2011. In 2012 three planned turnarounds in caprolactam, one in Q1 2012 and two more in Q3 2012, will also impact the results,” it added.

($1 = €0.74)

Additional reporting by Samuel Wong

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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