France's Arkema on track to reach 2016 targets - CEO

28 February 2013 13:06  [Source: ICIS news]

Thierry Le Henaff, Arkema chairman and CEOPARIS (ICIS)--Arkema’s CEO on Thursday said the French producer is in line to hit its 2016 ambition to become a world leader in specialty chemicals and advanced materials.

Thierry Le Henaff reiterated the group’s target to achieve group sales of €8bn ($11bn) and an earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin of 16% in 2016.

He added the company’s portfolio is becoming increasingly focused on specialities and there is movement towards a well balanced geographic presence, aiming for 35% of sales coming from Europe, 35% from North America and 30% from Asia and the rest of the world in 2016. Currently sales are split 40% in Europe, 34% in North America and 26% in Asia and the rest of the world.

Le Henaff also said Arkema will “focus its efforts on implementing its major organic growth projects, such as the construction of its Thiochemicals platform in Malaysia, its capital expenditure programme in Acrylics in North America, and its industrial developments in fluoropolymers and biosourced specialty polyamides in China.

“Thanks to the implementation of this targeted growth strategy, Arkema confirms its ambition to achieve, by 2016, €8bn sales and a 16% EBITDA margin while maintaining its gearing below 40%,” he added.

Ealier on Thursday, Arkema announced it had swung to a 2012 fourth-quarter net profit of €16m ($21m) from a net loss of €463m in the same period a year before, supported by strong earnings in its industrial specialties unit on healthy market conditions in North America.

Sales in the three months ended 31 December rose 3.4% year on year to €1.45bn, while EBITDA was up by 8.2% at €171m, it added, with an 11.8% EBITDA margin (11.3% in fourth quarter of 2011).

Fourth-quarter operating profit rose 20% year on year to €78m, while overall volumes rose 3%, Arkema added.

EBITDA within the group’s industrial chemicals business, which includes the industrial specialties and coatings solutions segments, grew 28% year on year to €124m, as sales rose to €1.02bn from €980m in the prior-year quarter.

“On the basis of the financial performance achieved and to mark its confidence in Arkema’s ability to reach the objectives set for 2016, the board of directors has decided to propose a significant increase in the dividend, to €1.80 per share [representing a 25% payout of adjusted net income],” the CEO said.

Le Henaff also confirmed Arkema’s target to reach a 30% payout ratio on adjusted net income in the future, but did not provide a specific date.

($1 = €0.76)

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

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