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Clariant delivers resilient sales performance in challenging environment


  • Q1 2023 sales increased by 1 % in local currency, down 5 % in Swiss francs to CHF 1.200 billion – positive pricing contribution of 7 %
  • Q1 2023 EBITDA down 24 % to CHF 167 million, EBITDA margin of 13.9 %, mainly attributable to 7 % lower volumes and business mix, CHF 13 million negative sunliquid® impact, and a CHF 11 milllion negative one-off fair value adjustment of the Heubach Group participation
  • Closing of North American Land Oil business divestment on 31 March 2023
  • Unchanged Outlook 2023

“Clariant delivered a resilient top-line result in the first quarter, despite the macroeconomic headwinds. Our customers have reduced their inventory, and demand in some areas has been weaker, which, coupled with the negative extraordinary factors recorded in the quarter, impacted our profitability. Overall, we have weathered the current global economic headwinds well, thanks to the actions we have taken in recent quarters to execute a strong pricing policy, implement our new organizational model, structurally improve our portfolio, and foster our sustainable product range. This is underpinned by the fact that our cash generation continued its positive momentum in the first three months of 2023. We maintain our full year expectations, however uncertainties and risks related to the economic environment remain,” said Conrad Keijzer, Chief Executive Officer of Clariant.

First Quarter 2023 Group Discussion

MUTTENZ, MAY 5, 2023 – Clariant, a sustainability-focused specialty chemical company, today announced first quarter 2023 sales of CHF 1.200 billion, compared to CHF 1.262 billion in the first quarter of 2022. This corresponds to an increase of 1 % in local currency and 5 % lower sales in Swiss francs. The positive pricing impact was 7 %, and the consolidation of the US Attapulgite business (scope) added 1 %, while volumes decreased by 7 %. The currency impact on the quarter was – 6 %. Sales growth was strong in the Business Unit Catalysts, which to some extent compensated for the slight sales decreases in the Care Chemicals and Adsorbents & Additives Business Units.

In the first quarter of 2023, local currency sales were flat in the Europe, Middle East & Africa region as Catalysts sales increased, Care Chemicals slightly weakened at a low single-digit percentage rate, and Adsorbents & Additives weakened at a mid-single-digit percentage rate. Sales in the Americas grew by 7 % primarily due to pricing impacts in Care Chemicals and Adsorbents & Additives as well as the acquisition of the US Attapulgite business assets. Sales in the US were 3 % higher, and sales in Brazil grew by 5 %. Sales in Asia-Pacific were down by 4 % due to 16 % lower sales in China attributable to a slow recovery versus a high comparison base. This development was partly compensated for by higher sales in India and Southeast Asia.

Care Chemicals sales decreased by 2 % in local currency in the first quarter of 2023. This development was driven by a volume decline with lower sales in both Consumer Care and Industrial Applications versus a tough comparison base. Catalysts sales rose by 18 % in local currency with growth in all business segments. Adsorbents & Additives sales decreased by 5 % in local currency due to weaker demand for Additives in particular, against a very strong first quarter in 2022.

Group EBITDA decreased by 24 % to CHF 167 million, and the corresponding 13.9 % margin was below the 17.4 % reported in the first quarter of the previous year. Pricing measures supported the profitability development. However, these measures did not fully offset the negative impact from lower volumes impacting production utilization in certain businesses and a CHF 13 million negative impact from sunliquid®. In addition, the fair value adjustment of the Heubach Group participation resulted in a negative CHF 11 million one-off charge in Corporate in the first quarter of 2023. Excluding the CHF 13 million negative sunliquid® impact and the CHF 11 million one-off Heubach Group fair value adjustment, the EBITDA margin was 15.9 % in the first quarter of 2023. Cost savings of approximately CHF 8 million from performance programs contributed positively to the margin by absorbing higher selling, general, and administrative expenses, i.e., related to trade fairs and a pickup in traveling activities. 

ESG Update – Leading in sustainability
Clariant’s Scope 1 and 2 total greenhouse gas emissions fell to 0.60 million tons in the last twelve months (April 2022 to March 2023), a decline of 3 % from 0.62 million tons in the full year 2022. The total indirect greenhouse gas emissions for purchased goods and services (Scope 3) also decreased by 5 %, from 2.58 million tons in the full year 2022 to 2.46 million tons in the last twelve months. These results demonstrate continued progress toward reaching the Group’s 2030 emissions reduction targets.

In 2022, several projects implemented within Clariant to shift to lower-emission raw materials positively impacted the first quarter of 2023 and will continue to generate a benefit for the Group going forward. Clariant expects full year 2023 emissions to remain below last year’s level despite the inclusion of additional sites in the reported Scope 1 and 2 emissions, the acquired Attapulgite site in the US, and the sunliquid® bioethanol plant in Romania.

Clariant is executing on its strategy to lead the Group through sustainability and innovation across the portfolio. The recently launched advanced skincare ingredient Rootness® Mood+ in the Business Unit Care Chemicals is an example of how Clariant promotes a sustainable bio-economy as it uses a smart plant cultivation technology, Plant Milking Technology. It ensures that the host plant is not destroyed during the chemical production process, requires 90 % less water compared to conventional culture, and provides Clariant’s customers with traceability from the seed to the ingredient. Clariant’s focus on sustainability is also reflected in the bio-based ingredients for paints and coatings provided by the Adsorbents & Additives Business Unit. The lower carbon footprints of these ingredients help customers to reduce their Scope 3 emissions. 

Outlook – Full Year 2023 
From a macroeconomic perspective, Clariant anticipates a soft recessionary environment in the first half of 2023, compared to a very strong first half of 2022, and expects to see an economic recovery in the second half of 2023, while uncertainties and risks related to the economic environment remain. For the full year 2023, Clariant expects to achieve sales of around CHF 5 billion, including a net negative top line impact of around CHF 130 million from divestments and the bolt-on acquisition. Clariant aims to slightly improve its year-on-year reported EBITDA margin due to continued growth in Catalysts, which is expected to offset lower sales in the other Business Units. Clariant expects an increasing negative annualized sunliquid® impact and an easing inflationary environment given the current economic outlook, counterbalanced by savings benefits from the restructuring programs.

In the medium term, Clariant aims to grow above the market to achieve higher profitability through sustainability and innovation. The Group has become a true specialty chemical company and confirms its 2025 ambition to deliver profitable sales growth (4 – 6 % CAGR), a Group EBITDA margin between 19 – 21 %, and a free cash flow conversion of around 40 %.

For further details please download the pdf version of the press release.

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