UpdateSwitzerland’s Clariant swings to Q3 net loss as sales fall

30 October 2013 11:39  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds financial detail of quarterly earnings throughout)

ClariantSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Clariant has swung to a net loss of Swiss francs (Swfr) 204m ($227m) in the third quarter from a net profit of Swfr47m in the same period last year, on lower sales, the Switzerland-headquartered chemicals firm said on Wednesday.

Third-quarter sales fell 3% year on year to Swfr1.44bn from Swfr1.49bn, due to a “pronounced weakness of the Brazilian real, the Japanese yen and the Indian rupee against the Swiss franc”, the company added.

In local currencies, sales during the period grew 2% year on year almost entirely as a result of higher sales volumes, Clariant said.

“The economic environment remained challenging and basically unchanged compared to the first six months.

“In this environment, all business areas with the exception of Catalysis & Energy achieved local currency sales growth in the low to mid single-digit range,” the company added.

Third-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) before exceptional items rose 24% in local currencies and 14% in Swiss francs to Swfr203m, it said.

Lower selling, general and administrative (SG&A) costs and a one-time gain related to the valuation of acquired assets over-compensated the currency impact on EBITDA, Clariant said.

The EBITDA margin rose to 14.1% compared to 12.0% for the continuing operations in the third quarter of 2012, the company added.

Over the first nine months of the year, Clariant swung to a net loss of Swfr75m from a net profit of Swfr132m in the same period last year, with sales in Swiss francs stable at Swfr4.51bn. In local currencies sales rose 2% year on year.

CEO Hariolf Kottmann said: “Clariant achieved a solid performance in the first nine months of 2013 as most businesses developed favourably under continuing challenging economic conditions around the globe.

“Good progress has been made in the repositioning of the business portfolio, with the divestment of underperforming businesses nearing completion. This will leave Clariant with a well-balanced portfolio that has promising long-term growth prospects in many areas of the specialty chemicals industry.”

In its outlook, Clariant said the repositioning of its portfolio in 2011 and 2012 has lifted the company to a sustainably higher level of profitability.

“The environment in which Clariant operates has not significantly changed over the past few months. Although a further stabilization has been observed in the mature markets, a broad-based economic recovery is not expected.

“In addition, uncertainties remain high in the emerging economies. Going into the fourth quarter, Clariant expects an overall stable but mixed business environment,” the company added.

On Wednesday, Clariant announced it had sold its leather services business to Stahl Holdings in exchange for 23% of the Dutch company’s shares and a cash payment of around Swfr85m.

($1 = Swfr0.90, $1 = €0.73)

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

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