MUTTENZ, Switzerland – Specialty chemicals company Clariant announced third quarter 2015 sales of CHF 1.410 billion compared to CHF 1.507 billion in the third quarter of 2014. This corresponds to a 2 percent growth in local currencies, with volumes up 1 percent and prices up 1 percent. Due to the strong currency headwind of 8 percent, sales decreased by 6 percent in Swiss francs. This was due to the ongoing strong volatility of currencies in the third quarter of 2015, in particular of the Brazilian real.
Growth in the Americas continued to be strong in the third quarter, with sales in local currencies up 20 percent in Latin America and 2 percent in North America. Europe was 1 percent lower in local currencies, impacted by a weaker end-market demand.
Lower growth came from the Asia-Pacific and Middle East and Africa regions. Sales in Asia-Pacific decreased by 3 percent in local currencies and were affected by weak demand in China. In the Middle East and Africa region, sales were down 2 percent year-on-year in local currencies.
The improved business performance stemmed primarily from the higher growth in the Care Chemicals, Catalysis and Natural Resources business areas. In Care Chemicals, third quarter 2015 sales in local currencies were up 12 percent after an already strong start to the year, reaching CHF 348 million.
Sales in Catalysis rose by 1 percent in local currencies to CHF 162 million. Sales growth year-on-year was impacted by weaker demand in China as well as by the divestment of the Energy Storage business to Johnson Matthey in February 2015.
Despite the difficult market environment, sales in Natural Resources remained stable in local currencies compared to a very strong third quarter in 2014, reaching sales of CHF 291 million.
In Plastics & Coatings, sales in local currencies declined slightly by 1 percent to CHF 609 million. Plastic & Coatings was impacted by a challenging environment in Pigments as well as by weaknesses in Europe and China.
The gross margin of 31.6 percent was above the previous year’s level of 28.8 percent, benefiting from a positive mix effect and lower raw material costs.
In spite of the increasingly challenging economic environment, Clariant is confident it will achieve its full-year 2015 target of low- to mid-single-digit sales growth in local currencies.
Clariant expects the challenging environment, characterized by an increased volatility in commodity prices and currencies, to continue. The company anticipates the economic environment in emerging markets to remain favorable, but at a lower level and with increased volatility. In the United States, Clariant assumes moderate growth, while in Europe growth is expected to remain weak.