Evonik swings to Q4 net income of €148m, sales fall 2%

14 March 2012 14:28  [Source: ICIS news]

(recasts first paragraph)

LONDON (ICIS)--Evonik Industries reported 2011 fourth-quarter net income of €148m ($195m), compared with a net loss of €56m in the same period a year earlier which included expenses related to the divestment of a 51% stake in Evonik’s energy business, the company said on Wednesday.

The Germany-based specialty chemicals major’s sales for the three months ended 31 December slipped by 2% to €3.3bn.

But after adjusting results for sales from a carbon black business that was divested last year, underlying fourth-quarter figures rose 8% year on year, mainly driven by higher selling prices, the company said.

Evonik’s fourth-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 9% year on year to €522m. The EBITDA margin rose from 14.1% to 15.7%.

However, the company said that operating performance weakened slightly in the fourth quarter, compared with the first nine months to 30 September 2011, because of a deteriorating economic situation and a slow-down in demand in some business areas towards the end of the year.

Full-year EBITDA was up by 17% year on year to €2.8bn, and the full-year EBITDA margin improved to 19.0%, from 17.8% in 2010.

Net income for the 12 months of 2011 was €1bn, up by 38% from 2010, and full-year sales rose by 9% to €14.5bn.

“Evonik posted a record operating performance in 2011 and greatly improved its financial profile and competitiveness,” said CEO Klaus Engel.

With the divestment of its carbon black business and the sale of a majority stake in an energy business, Evonik made good progress in repositioning itself as a pure specialty chemicals producer, Engel said.

“In the field of specialty chemicals we are systematically focusing on high-margin business with attractive growth and earnings potential,” he added.

As for its near-term outlook, the company expects to be successful in 2012, despite significant uncertainties surrounding global economic development, Evonik said.

However, it is not clear how the European sovereign debt crisis will develop and to what extent it could have far-reaching implications for global growth, and thus for Evonik’s outlook, the company said.

The expected economic slowdown in Europe and some industries, especially in the first half of 2012, could have an impact on Evonik’s business, it remarked.

But overall, Evonik assumes that in 2012 sales will be around the 2011 level. Operating results will probably be slightly below their 2011 level, the company said.

However, if the economic slowdown in Europe and the drop in demand in specific industries prove less pronounced than expected, Evonik’s 2012 operating results should be in line with or even slightly above the 2011 level, it added.

($1 = €0.76)

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