UpdateFrance’s Arkema swings to Q2 net loss on vinyls divestment

01 August 2012 11:08  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds segment financials and CEO comment)

Arkema Head OfficeLONDON (ICIS)--Arkema swung to a second-quarter net loss of €12m ($15m), from a net profit of €184m in the same period last year, following the divestment of its vinyl business, the French chemicals firm said on Wednesday.

The company finalised the divestment of its vinyl products segment on 3 July to Switzerland-based Klesch Group, which led to Arkema reporting a €141m net loss from discontinued operations in the second quarter.

Group share net income from continuing operations in the second quarter of 2012 fell to €129m, from €198m in the same period last year, partly because of tough market conditions. The second-quarter 2012 result also included a €63m tax charge.

Sales in the second quarter grew by 15.4% year on year to €1.72bn. Arkema said the increase “included the contribution of the acquisition of specialty resins (Cray Valley and Sartomer), alkoxylates, and Chinese companies Hipro Polymers and Casda Biomaterials”.

Volumes decreased by 4% compared with the second quarter of 2011, when the level of activity was particularly high, while prices during the period were 3% lower, “reflecting mostly a return to normalised market conditions in acrylic acid and the expected adjustment of HFC-125 prices in China”, said Arkema.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the quarter slipped by 4.7% to €306m, because of tough comparables, it added.

“Arkema achieved an EBITDA above €300m in 2nd quarter 2012, an increase of more than 20% on 1st quarter [2012]. This excellent performance confirms the quality of the group’s specialties portfolio, and demonstrates its strength in a volatile and uncertain global economic environment,” said Thierry Le Henaff, chairman and CEO of Arkema.

Second-quarter EBITDA in the group’s Industrial Chemicals business was €208m, down by 8.0% year on year, following poor demand for decorative paints in Europe and North America. Sales in the segment rose by 16.4% to €1.14bn, reflecting the contribution of specialty resins.

“Compared to the peak of the 2nd quarter 2011 marked by restocking and exceptional demand in Asia, volumes in Industrial Chemicals declined, impacted by several maintenance turnarounds,” the company said.

Arkema’s Performance Products business saw EBITDA rise by 10.1% to €109m, as sales rose to €572m, 13.5% up on the second quarter of 2011.

“The price effect was positive [to Performance Products' sales], reflecting the positioning of Technical Polymers in higher added value applications and a favourable product mix in Specialty Chemicals,” the company said.

Arkema confirmed it should achieve an EBITDA close to €1bn in 2012.

“Beyond, Arkema aims to achieve €8bn sales and €1,250m EBITDA by 2016,” it said.

“In the future Arkema will continue to develop its high added value product lines. I am convinced that the quality of our activities, the spirit of innovation that is driving us, and the partnerships we are developing with our customers are key drivers of our success, now and in the future,” Le Henaff said.

($1 = €0.81)

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

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