Clariant’s profits fall after ‘soft start to the year’

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Chemical giant saw Ebitda decrease to CHF 236m (€196.5m) in the first quarter, as demand fell compared to the previous year.

Compared to Q1 2011, Ebitda fell 15% in Swiss francs and 9% in local currencies. The margin was 12.1% compared to 16.1% in the previous-year period, reflecting the soft start to 2012.

In a statement, CEO Hariolf Kottmann said: “As expected, Clariant had a soft start into the year as the global economy stabilised. While the non-cyclical parts of the portfolio continued to perform well, the more cyclical businesses faced ongoing challenges in the current uncertain environment, especially in Europe. This is reflected in lower margins for the group compared to an extraordinarily strong quarter one year ago.”

However, sales during the quarter totalled CHF 1.9bn (€1.6bn), a 13% increase in Swiss francs and an 18% rise in local currencies.

In the Masterbatches business unit, sales remained flat in local currencies and declined 4% in Swiss francs. Sales improved in most regions but were dragged down by a weak market in southern Europe. Growth was also impacted by rising raw material costs, says the company.

In 2102, the company expects a gradual improvement in business conditions which will lead to an improved performance in the second half of the year. Results for H1 are expected to be lower than the first half of 2011.