MUTTENZ, Switzerland — Specialty chemical provider Clariant announced full-year 2018 sales of CHF 6.623 billion compared to CHF 6.377 billion in 2017. This corresponds to 5% growth in local currency, all of which is organic, driven by a progression in all business areas, particularly in Catalysis. Both higher volumes and pricing underpinned this expansion.
For the full year, all regions contributed to the sales growth in local currency. Sales in Latin America grew the strongest, by 12%. Sales in Asia increased by 7%, bolstered by a particularly positive development in China and India. In North America, sales rose by 5%. Both Europe and the Middle East & Africa increased sales by 2%.
The improved sales performance for the full year resulted from growth in all business areas with Care Chemicals, Catalysis and Natural Resources reporting strong expansion. Sales in Care Chemicals rose by 7% in local currency, primarily supported by Consumer Care. Sales in the Catalysis business area improved by 11% in local currency, with a strong organic sales growth of 8%. Sales in the Natural Resources business area accelerated by 8% in local currency, mainly lifted by improved oil and mining services demand and solid growth in Functional Minerals. In Plastics & Coatings, sales rose by 1% in local currency with particularly strong regional expansion in Latin America.
EBITDA before exceptional items rose by 5% in Swiss francs and reached CHF 1.018 billion, compared to CHF 974 million in the previous year. The absolute profitability improvement was attributable to the positive contributions from Care Chemicals, Catalysis and Plastics & Coatings.
The corresponding EBITDA margin before exceptional items advanced to 15.4% from 15.3% in the previous year.
Net income climbed by 18% to CHF 356 million from CHF 302 million in full year 2017. This increase was supported by the improvement in absolute EBITDA as well as lower one-off costs and a lower effective tax rate.
“In 2018, Clariant achieved good sales and profit growth and significantly improved operating cash flow despite an increasingly challenging environment,” said Ernesto Occhiello, CEO of Clariant. “Going forward, we will continue to identify and address the next challenges and future demands within our respective businesses and those of our customers. This, coupled with best customer experience and fast, reliable customer fulfillment will trigger above-market growth, higher profitability and stronger cash generation.”