Altana: Strongly Affected by Economic Crisis
The specialty chemicals Group Altana AG, Wesel, Germany, is strongly affected by the worldwide economic crisis and reports significant decreases in sales and earnings. In the first quarter of the business year 2009, sales fell by 30% to EUR 251.8 million (prior-year period: EUR 357.6 million). Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) decreased by 71% from EUR 71.7 million in 2008 to EUR 20.8 million. As a consequence, the EBITDA margin was down to 8.3% and is therefore significantly lower than the prior-year figure of 20.1%.
Sales figures dropped severely in the divisions Byk Additives & Instruments, Eckart Effect Pigments and Elantas Electrical Insulation. Only in the Actega Coatings & Sealants division sales remained relatively stable.
Measures to improve efficiency and cut costs introduced by Altana comprise, among others, a reduction of personnel costs due to operational shutdown periods and short-time work, the postponement of investment measures and a worldwide qualified hiring freeze. In total, the estimated savings potential for 2009 amounts to approximately EUR 50 million; more than EUR 10 million were realized in the first quarter of the current business year.
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