UpdateClariant Q2 net profit rises 75%, sales grow by 6%

26 July 2012 11:49  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds further financial details, CEO comment, segment data throughout)

LONDON (ICIS)--Clariant International's second-quarter 2012 net profit rose by 75% year on year to Swiss francs (Swfr) 70m ($71m, €58m), reflecting lower tax charges, the Switzerland-based specialty chemicals producer said on Thursday.

Sales in the second quarter grew by 6% year on year to Swfr1.98bn, despite challenging market conditions, the company added.

“The slowdown in global economic growth and the crisis in Europe did not materially impact the non-cyclical business units Catalysis & Energy, Functional Materials, Industrial & Consumer Specialties and Oil & Mining Services,” the company said.

“In contrast, the cyclical businesses were impacted by lower volumes, leading to a volume decline of -1% at the group level," it added.

Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) during the quarter fell by 3% to Swfr233m, it said, resulting in an EBITDA margin before exceptionals of 11.8%, compared with 12.9% in the same period last year.

Clariant said the lower margin was the result of higher selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expense costs for the Catalysis & Energy and Functional Materials business units and higher project-related corporate costs. Investment bank JP Morgan Cazenove said Clariant’s second-quarter EBITDA had been 2% below consensus.

Sales in Clariant’s Industrial & Consumer Specialties during the quarter declined by 2% year on year to Swfr346m after being negatively impacted by weak demand in Europe. In the Masterbatches business unit, sales were also 2% lower at Swfr292m, again because of weak European demand.

Second-quarter sales in its Pigments segment were down 13% year on year to Swfr241m, mainly because of lower overall demand in all regions excluding Latin America, while sales in Textile Chemicals were 2% above last year’s level at Swfr180m, as growth in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa and Latin America more than overcompensated for declining demand in Europe and North America.

Clariant’s Performance Chemicals division saw sales in the second quarter fall by 7% year on year to Swfr312m, as soft demand in Europe offset gains in Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

Net income for the first half of 2012 fell to Swfr90m, from Swfr160m in the same period last year, while sales grew by 9% to Swfr3.92bn. First-half EBITDA fell 9% year on year to Swfr469m.

“In the first half of 2012 Clariant delivered a solid performance as expected at the beginning of the year, driven by good growth in the non-cyclical part of the portfolio, offsetting lower volumes in the more cyclical businesses,” said CEO Hariolf Kottmann.

“While the future path of the global economy is tainted with a high degree of uncertainty, we continue to implement our strategy. Based on this we confirm our expectation of an increasing profitability in the second half-year compared to the second half of 2011,” he added.

The group said its profitability in the second half will be supported by cost benefits from the finalisation of the GANO (Global Asset Network Optimisation) projects in Switzerland and the UK, and the integration of Germany-based specialty chemicals firm Sud-Chemie, as well as by additional sales from new production capacities in growing segments.

Clariant also expects further sales growth in local currencies and a sustained profitability for full-year 2012 compared with 2011, assuming the global economy stabilises at current levels in the second half.

“Raw material costs are expected to increase in the low-single digit range while exchange rates should remain stable compared to the beginning of the year,” it added.

($1 = Swfr0.99, €1 = Swfr1.20)

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

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