MUTTENZ, Switzerland – Specialty chemicals company Clariant announced full-year 2015 sales of CHF 5.807 billion compared to CHF 6.116 billion in 2014. This corresponds to a 3 percent growth in local currencies mainly driven by higher volumes. Due to the strong currency headwind, sales in Swiss francs decreased by 5 percent.
“Despite the challenging economic environment throughout the year, we continued to improve our performance again and have shown resilience,” said CEO Hariolf Kottmann. “Clariant has significantly improved its cash flow and expanded its EBITDA margin on the back of a good performance of the business areas Care Chemicals, Catalysis and Natural Resources. With this positive development, we have been able to offset the negative impact of the stronger Swiss franc and deliver a net result comparable to 2014. For 2016, in spite of the economic environment anticipated to become even more demanding, we want to further progress in profitability and cash flow generation by continuously launching new innovative solutions particularly in our higher margin business areas.”
Growth in the Americas was good, with sales in local currencies up 19 percent in Latin America and 4 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 & Africa regions. Sales in Asia/Pacific decreased by 1 percent in local currencies and were affected by a weak demand in China, which could not be compensated by the stronger demand of smaller economies in Asia. In the Middle East & Africa region, sales were down 6 percent year-on-year in local currencies.
The improved business performance stemmed primarily from higher growth in the Care Chemicals, Catalysis and Natural Resources business areas. In Care Chemicals, sales in local currencies were up 4 percent, reaching CHF 1.445 billion. Adjusted for the portfolio change, on a like-for-like basis, growth in local currency was 6 percent year-on-year.
Sales in Catalysis rose by 4 percent in local currencies to CHF 704 million fueled by strong growth in Petrochemicals and Syngas. Sales growth year-on-year was impacted by the divestment of the Energy Storage business in February 2015. On a like-for-like basis, sales in Catalysis have grown by 7 percent versus the previous year.
Despite the difficult market environment, sales in Natural Resources grew by 4 percent in local currencies reaching sales of CHF 1.217 billion primarily driven by the Oil and Mining Services business.
In Plastics & Coatings, sales in local currencies grew slightly by 1 percent to CHF 2.441 billion, despite the very challenging environment in Pigments resulting from the weak demand in Europe and China.
Despite the more difficult economic environment as well as the significant appreciation of the Swiss franc, the solid performance allowed the board of directors to propose to the Annual General Meeting a dividend of CHF 0.40 per share at the same level as in the previous year following an 11 percent dividend increase the year earlier. The company proposes the distribution be made from the capital contribution reserve that is exempt from Swiss withholding tax.