MUTTENZ, Switzerland – Specialty chemicals company Clariant announced full-year 2016 sales of CHF 5.847 billion compared to CHF 5.807 billion in 2015. This corresponds to 2% growth in local currency, driven by higher volumes.

For the full year, local currency growth was strongest in Asia and the Middle East and Africa at 4%. In Asia, the strong growth was mainly supported by China and India. In North America and Europe, sales growth was 2%. Latin America grew at a level of 1%.

The improved sales performance for the full year resulted from strong growth in Care Chemicals and Plastics & Coatings. In Care Chemicals, sales in local currency increased by 5% to CHF 1 465 million. In Plastics & Coatings, sales in local currency grew by 4% to CHF 2 525 million. The good sales performance in Plastics & Coatings was seen across all regions.

Despite the difficult market environment, sales in Natural Resources grew by 2% in local currency and amounted to CHF 1 184 million. There was a decline in the Oil and Mining Services business, which was offset by acquisitions and the continued growth in Functional Minerals. Sales in Catalysis declined by 8% in local currency, reaching CHF 673 million due to portfolio mix effects and lower demand in Asia and North America.

Net income climbed to CHF 263 million from CHF 227 million in the previous year. The 16% increase year-on-year resulted from the continued expansion in absolute EBITDA, lower finance costs and an improvement in the tax rate.

Operating cash flow rose significantly by 29% to CHF 646 million compared to CHF 502 million in the previous year. This improvement is primarily attributable to higher profit, lower cash out for exceptional items and lower income taxes paid.

“Clariant considerably expanded its operating cash flow in 2016 while reporting sales growth and profitability improvement,” said CEO Hariolf Kottmann. “Our good business performance was primarily achieved by means of a continued shift to high-margin specialties, the impact of the differentiated steering in Plastics and Coatings as well as good cost management. For 2017, we are confident that we will achieve our targets, i.e. growth in local currency, progression in operating cash flow, absolute EBITDA and EBITDA margin before exceptional items in spite of a continued challenging economic environment.”

Looking forward, Clariant expects the uncertain environment, characterized by a high volatility in commodity prices, currencies, and political uncertainties, to continue. In emerging markets, the company anticipates the economic environment to remain challenging and volatile; it expects moderate growth in the United States, while growth in Europe is expected to remain stable.