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Clariant delivers good start to 2024 with improved profitability – outlook confirmed


  • Q1 2024 sales decreased by 6 % organically in local currencies1 to CHF 1.014 billion against a strong comparison base in Q1 2023, driven by stabilized volumes and lower pricing 
  • Q1 2024 EBITDA margin improved to 17.1 % compared to 13.9 % in Q1 2023, driven by performance programs, deflationary raw material and energy price trends, strong margin in aviation, and reduced sunliquid® impact
  • Closing of Lucas Meyer Cosmetics acquisition on 2 April 2024 strengthens position as a true specialty chemical company and expands Clariant’s reach into attractive cosmetic ingredients space 
  • Confirmed Outlook 2024 and medium-term targets

“Clariant delivered a good start to the year in the first quarter of 2024 demonstrating the resilience of our specialty chemicals portfolio. The improved profitability was driven by our performance programs and successful margin management in the deflationary environment. Our topline performance reflected stabilized volumes and lower pricing against a strong comparison base last year. Sequentially, we saw limited restocking activities from customers, although uncertainties about underlying demand remain. The lower sunliquid® impact and strong margin in our aviation business positively contributed to profitability. We are on track to deliver on our 2024 guidance and remain committed toward our medium-term targets,” said Conrad Keijzer, Chief Executive Officer of Clariant.
“We recently closed the acquisition of Lucas Meyer Cosmetics, opening a new chapter for Clariant. I warmly welcome our new team members, and together we are looking forward to the growth opportunities that lie ahead. In addition, we achieved a significant safety milestone recording zero accidents in the month of March, equating to approximately two million working hours without accidents across all of our 73 production sites, offices, laboratories and warehouses worldwide. This achievement is a direct result of the proactive measures we have implemented to promote a safe workplace for our employees. We have set the right trajectory internally as well as externally to deliver on our targets,” Conrad Keijzer added.

First Quarter 2024 Group Discussion 
– Clariant, a sustainability-focused specialty chemical company, today announced first quarter 2024 sales of CHF 1.014 billion, down 6 % organically in local currency1 and 11 % including scope in local currency (16 % in Swiss francs) versus Q1 2023. Pricing decreased by 5 % year-on-year and volumes by 1 %. Changes in scope had a negative impact of 5 % due to the divestments of the North American Land Oil and Quats businesses. 

Care Chemicals sales decreased by 4 % organically in local currency and 9 % related to scope versus Q1 2023. Sales in Mining Solutions, Industrial Applications and Personal & Home Care grew organically while the seasonal aviation business declined, due to less favorable weather impacting volume and lower formula-based prices. Sequentially, volumes increased by 5 % in the first quarter, partially driven by limited customer restocking from low inventory levels at year-end 2023. Catalysts sales declined modestly by 2 % in local currency, with growth in Syngas & Fuels and Propylene offset by Ethylene and Specialties due to the normal project cycle of the business. Adsorbents & Additives sales decreased by 11 % in local currency against a high comparison base in Q1 2023 due to challenges in key end markets for the Additives segments, despite limited sequential customer restocking activities. 

In the first quarter, local currency sales in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region were down 16 % (3 % related to scope) versus Q1 2023, with declines in all businesses as economic activity in the region remained muted. Sales in the Americas grew organically by 4 %, driven by stronger volumes in Care Chemicals and Catalysts. Including scope (- 11 %), sales in the region declined by 7 % in local currency. Sales in Asia-Pacific were down 6 % (2 % related to scope) in local currency, mitigated by organic growth in China of 5 %, driven by Care Chemicals and Adsorbents and Additives.

Group EBITDA increased by 4 % to CHF 173 million, with the corresponding margin of 17.1 % significantly above the 13.9 % margin reported in the first quarter of 2023. Cost savings from performance programs of approximately CHF 11 million contributed positively to offset inflation. Lower cost trends in raw materials (- 12 %) and energy (- 22 %, driven by Europe) positively supported profitability in all businesses despite lower pricing. Strong margin in the seasonal aviation business also positively contributed to profitability. The Group incurred a total CHF 5 million negative operational impact from the sunliquid® bioethanol activities, which represented an improvement against the CHF 13 million negative operational impact of the prior year. As announced in December 2023, Clariant is ceasing operations at the plant in Romania and is downsizing related activities of the Business Segment Biofuels & Derivatives in Germany. The previous year figure was also negatively impacted by a CHF 11 million one-off fair value adjustment on the Heubach Group participation. Restructuring expenses totaled CHF 7 million, mainly related to the Additives segments. Underlying profitability, as reflected by EBITDA before exceptional items, of CHF 184 million was flat year on year and increased sequentially by 17 %, representing an improved underlying margin of 18.1 % compared to 15.3 % in the prior year and 14.9 % in the prior quarter.

ESG Update – Leading in sustainability and safety
Clariant’s Scope 1 and 2 total greenhouse gas emissions fell to 0.52 million tons in the last twelve months (April 2023 to March 2024), a decline of 4 % from 0.54 million tons in the full year 2023. The total indirect greenhouse gas emissions for purchased goods and services (Scope 3) also decreased by 5 %, from 2.28 million tons in the full year 2023 to 2.16 million tons in the last twelve months. These results demonstrate continued progress toward reaching the Group’s 2030 emissions reduction targets.

Clariant achieved a major safety milestone, recording zero DART (Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred) cases in March, equating to approximately 2 000 000 working hours without accidents across all of its 73 production sites, offices, laboratories, and warehouses worldwide. This achievement underscores the commitment of all our colleagues to making safety a top priority every day and is a testament to the effectiveness of Clariant’s comprehensive safety protocols and initiatives. Clariant remains steadfast in its commitment to promote a safe and healthy workplace for all its employees. In the first quarter of 2024, the DART rate remained unchanged at 0.21, as observed at year-end 2023.

Outlook confirmed 
For the full year 2024, Clariant expects to see a continued easing of the inflationary environment but no significant economic recovery, with macroeconomic uncertainties and risks remaining. Clariant therefore reiterates its expectations for low single-digit sales growth in local currency. Growth in Care Chemicals, including the impact of the acquisition of Lucas Meyer Cosmetics, and in Adsorbents & Additives is expected to offset a temporary slowdown in Catalysts momentum. Reported EBITDA margin is expected to improve to around 15 %. This includes the impact of the Lucas Meyer Cosmetics acquisition and a sunliquid® restructuring/exceptional impact of up to CHF 30 million. Clariant also expects operational sunliquid® costs of up to CHF 15 million related to preparation for the closure or divestment of the Podari plant. EBITDA margin excluding the operational and exceptional sunliquid® impacts is expected at around 16 %. Cost savings benefits from restructuring programs are expected to deliver CHF 28 million in 2024. 

Clariant reiterates its expectation that 2025 will be a year of continued, albeit significant, recovery in profitability. In 2025, on the basis of an expected 3 – 5 % improvement in key end market demand, Clariant expects to achieve EBITDA margin of 17 – 18 %, and free cash flow conversion at the targeted level of around 40 %. Clariant remains committed to its medium-term targets as end markets recover and growth normalizes over the next two to three years. Clariant will adopt an agile response to the economic environment and remain resolute in its plans to achieve the medium-term targets. The company is well positioned to achieve these targets as the accretive impacts of the Lucas Meyer Cosmetics acquisition and investments in China are realized. In addition, benefits from increased cost savings are expected.

1All references to local currency growth, pricing, volumes, and scope exclude the impact from hyperinflation countries Argentina and Türkiye. All references to currency include a net impact from hyperinflation countries Argentina and Türkiye.


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