Clariant Reports Strong Sales Growth on Higher Volumes
Clariant International Ltd., Muttenz, Switzerland, announced third quarter 2014 sales of CHF 1.507 billion compared to CHF 1.443 billion in the third quarter of 2013. This corresponds to sales growth of 8 % in local currencies, driven by 7 % higher volumes and average sales price increases of 1 %.
Clariant achieved double-digit local currency sales growth in the emerging markets, led by Latin America with a 23 % sales increase followed by Asia/Pacific with 13 %. In Latin America, Brazil reported single-digit growth while sales in most of the other economies in the region grew double-digit. In Asia/Pacific strong sales growth was achieved in China with 12 % and in India with 38 % higher sales. In the mature markets, North America reached 3 % higher sales, outpacing Europe Middle East & Africa (EMEA), which grew 2 %. As in the first six months, the driver for growth in EMEA was the Middle East & Africa region which achieved growth of 15 %, in-line with other emerging markets. In contrast, growth was uneven across countries in Europe with good growth in the Nordic countries and in Eastern Europe, resulting in 0 % sales growth in the region.
With the exception of Care Chemicals, all Business Areas achieved mid single-digit to double-digit sales growth in local currencies in the third quarter. Care Chemicals reported 1 % lower sales resulting from a reduction of the exposure to lower margin products. Excluding this impact, Care Chemicals grew 5 % in local currencies, reflecting robust growth in Consumer Care, predominantly in Crop Solutions and Personal Care while Industrial Applications grew at a slower pace. Catalysis & Energy achieved 20 % higher sales, driven by a continuing strong growth in the Catalysts business but also due to a substantial improvement in sales in the start-up business Energy Storage. In Natural Resources, both the Oil & Mining Services and Functional Minerals businesses contributed to a 14 % sales increase. Plastics & Coatings sales grew 7 % on the back of a good sales performance of all three businesses: Additives, Masterbatches and Pigments.
At 28.8 %, the gross margin improved from the 28.1 % recorded in the prior-year period. Improved capacity utilization and slightly higher sales prices more than offset a negative currency impact.
In the last few months the optimism in the market concerning the further path of the global economy has deteriorated, mainly with regard to the outlook for Europe. Clariant expects the business environment to remain challenging with heterogeneous global economic developments and volatile currency markets. While the general economic environment in the emerging markets is expected to remain mixed but overall favorable, moderate growth should continue in the United States. In contrast, Europe is expected to remain flat at best. Hence, Clariant will focus on profitably growing the four Business Areas, cost efficiency and strengthening innovation.
For the full-year 2014, Clariant expects around mid single-digit sales growth in local currencies and an EBITDA margin before exceptional items above full-year 2013. Clariant confirms its mid-term target of achieving a position in the top tier of the specialty chemicals industry. This corresponds to an EBITDA margin before exceptional items in the range of 16 % to 19 % and a return on invested capital (ROIC) above the peer group average in 2015 and beyond.
Clariant International Ltd.
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