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Clariant reports strong progress in the first half of 2018

  • Sales grew by 7 % in local currency to CHF 3.389 billion
  • EBITDA before exceptional items expanded significantly by 9 %
  • EBITDA margin before exceptional items improved to 15.5 %
  • Net income increased by 38 % to CHF 211 million
  • Operating cash flow at CHF 102 million
  • 2018 outlook confirmed

"In the first half of the year, Clariant delivered strong growth in sales, EBITDA and most notably net income", stated CEO Hariolf Kottmann. "Our adherence to Clariant's five pillar strategy has resulted in the steady progress we have seen over the last years. We continue to focus on innovation and sustainability for portfolio advancement, leading to further progress in growth and profitability. For 2018, I am confident that we will achieve our targets".

First Half 2018 – Strong growth progression

Muttenz, July 25, 2018 - Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, today announced first half 2018 sales of CHF 3.389 billion compared to CHF 3.132 billion in the first half of 2017. This corresponds to 7 % growth in local currency and 8 % in Swiss francs. Sales growth was supported by organic growth contributions from all Business Areas, in particular Catalysis and Care Chemicals.

Most of the regions contributed to the good sales growth. Sales in Asia advanced by an excellent 12 % in local currency. This improvement was due to a particularly strong sales expansion in China. In Latin America, sales grew 12 % reflecting the recovery of the macroeconomic environment in this region. Sales in North America were up by 7 % and 3 % in Europe.

Care Chemicals and Catalysis both reported continued excellent sales developments. Sales in Care Chemicals rose by 9 % in local currency driven by both Consumer Care and Industrial Applications. Catalysis sales climbed by a considerable 22 % in local currency with a remarkable organic sales growth of 15 %.

Sales in Natural Resources increased by 4 % in local currency due to an improving demand from the oil market. Plastics & Coatings reported 3 % local currency growth against a strong comparable base with all three Business Units adding to the development.

EBITDA before exceptional items rose by 9 % and reached CHF 524 million compared to CHF 482 million in the previous year mainly supported by the performance in Care Chemicals, Catalysis and Plastics & Coatings.

The corresponding EBITDA margin before exceptional items improved to 15.5 % primarily due to the profitability improvement in Care Chemicals.

Net income increased by 38 % in to CHF 211 million from CHF 153 million in the previous year. The higher EBITDA and significantly lower exceptional items supported this development.

Operating cash flow was CHF 102 million. This is a decrease from the CHF 116 million in the previous year. A one-off tax settlement in Germany essentially offset the significant improvement in cash flow from operating activities.

Net debt increased to CHF 1.707 billion from CHF 1.539 billion recorded at year end 2017 reflecting the usual seasonal increase seen in the first half of the year.

Second Quarter 2018 – Higher sales and EBITDA improvement

In the second quarter of 2018, sales rose by 7 % in local currency to CHF 1.667 billion. All Business Areas contributed to the strong organic growth, however the positive developments in Care Chemicals and Catalysis were particularly noteworthy.

Almost all geographic regions added to the growth. Sales in Asia grew by 10 % in local currency with a continuing strong development in both China and India. Sales in Latin America progressed by 13 % and in North America by 9 %. In Europe, sales advanced by a robust 5 %. Only Middle East & Africa, the smallest region, reported lower sales with a decrease of 10 %.

Sales in Care Chemicals rose by 10 % in local currency and in Catalysis by a strong 11 %. In Natural Resources, sales increased by 6 % supported by both Business Units Oil & Mining Services and Functional Minerals. Sales in Plastics & Coatings grew by 4 % supported by continued growth in all three Business Units.

EBITDA before exceptional items rose by 10 % to CHF 256 million primarily lifted by the strong contribution from Care Chemicals and Plastics & Coatings. The corresponding EBITDA margin before exceptional items on Group level increased to 15.4 % from 15.2 % in the previous year.

Outlook – Continued progression in growth, profitability improvement and operating cash flow generation

Clariant expects the good economic environment in mature markets, which represent a high comparable base, to continue. Emerging markets are expected to be supportive with Latin America showing signs of a recovery.

For 2018, Clariant is confident to be able to achieve growth in local currency, as well as progression in operating cash flow, absolute EBITDA and EBITDA margin before exceptional items.

Clariant confirms its mid-term target of reaching 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.

For more details, please download the PDF of the press release.

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