08 November 2012 10:46 [Source: ICIS news]
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LONDON (ICIS)--A “record” performance for Arkema’s performance materials division and steady earnings for its industrial chemicals division contributed to a 6.4% rise in net profit for the third quarter of the year in spite of weak demand in several key end markets, the French specialty chemicals maker said on Thursday.
Net profit for the quarter rose 6.4% year on year to €116m ($149m), and sales rose 1.2% to €1.61bn during the quarter, the company said.
Arkema posted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €107m for its performance products division during the quarter, up from €102m in the third quarter of 2011, which it attributed to acquisitions in biosourced polyamides and alkoxylates, and specialising its product mix towards niche markets.
Industrial chemicals EBITDA was flat year on year at €176m, despite a slowdown in the European automotive sector - a key end market for Arkema - and weak decorative paint sales.
Industrial specialties performed strongly for the division, delivering an EBITDA margin of 20% on €98m EBITDA, driven by strong North American sales of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), fluorogases and thiochemicals.
Coating solutions, another division of Arkema’s industrial chemicals arm, generated EBITDA of €78m as improved acrylic monomer margins and industrial coatings sales helped to offset weak sales of coating resins for decorative paints.
Despite the rise in net profit, the company stated that market conditions in Europe were worse than they had been in the third quarter of 2011, and that growth in most of Asia had been “relatively slow”.
Arkema predicted a subdued closing quarter of the year, on the back of continued low demand in some market segments, a depressed European macroeconomic environment likely to contribute to cautious inventory management by buyers.
“The group will strictly manage its activities, focusing in particular on controlling its fixed costs, its working capital and its capex. Arkema remains confident in its ability to deliver a very solid year, and confirms its target to achieve an EBITDA close to €1bn in 2012,” the company said.
($1 = €0.78)
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