Soda ash pushes Poland's Ciech to Q1 net of Zl45m

15 May 2013 19:00  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--First-quarter net profit at Poland's Ciech climbed to zloty (Zl) 45m ($14m, €11m) from Zl10m in the same period a year ago on a solid performance from the chemical producer's soda ash business, the company said on Wednesday.

Sales revenues fell to Zl993m from Zl1.2bn in the first quarter of last year and from Zl1.0bn in the fourth quarter of last year, with the exceptionally long winter hitting sales of plant protection products, Ciech added.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) amounted to Zl132m, against Zl126m in the first quarter of 2012, the company said.

Ciech CEO Dariusz Krawczyk attributed some of the higher profitability to ongoing restructuring, which at the end of last year included the closure of the company's Zachem toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) division.

“We have closed another quarter of intense work to improve the group's profitability, leading to measurable effects, such as better operating profitability,” Krawczyk said.

“We expect that our continued efforts will produce effects in the following quarters,” he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, the controlling shareholder in Ciech, the Polish treasury ministry, said “serious investors” were welcome to submit bids for the group.

Although the soda ash business generally fared well in the first quarter, it contended with sales difficulties caused by the loss of some glass production capacities in Scandinavia and low prices for output from its Romanian soda ash subsidiary Uzinele Sodice Govora Ciech.

The situation in our Romanian plant is another challenge for the Ciech group, said Krawczyk.

“We need to continue to implement a deep restructuring of our foreign plants in Romania and Germany. We will have to work hard and make some tough decisions,” he added.  

In late April, a Ciech source disclosed to ICIS that the company stood ready to sell or liquidate its Romanian and German soda ash operations if restructuring efforts do not sufficiently improve profitability.

($1 = €0.77, $1 = Zl3.22)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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