WESEL, Germany - Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the specialty chemicals group ALTANA recorded only a slight decline in sales in the 2020 fiscal year and was able to increase EBITDA in a year-to-year comparison. Sales reached €2,178 million, just 3% below the 2019 level. Adjusted for acquisition and exchange-rate effects, the sales decrease was 4%. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to €426 million, exceeding the previous year’s level by 2%. The company reports that favorable raw material costs, active cost management, and pandemic-related one-time effects including savings due to the absence of travel and trade shows contributed to this development. At 19.6%, the EBITDA margin was at the upper end of the long-term target range of 18 to 20%, despite continued high spending in key areas such as research and development and digitalization.

“Our top priority in the 2020 fiscal year was to protect our more than 6,500 colleagues worldwide. On this basis, we once again succeeded in demonstrating ALTANA’s characteristic customer proximity in spite of physical distance,” said Martin Babilas, CEO of ALTANA AG. “The business results also show how deeply ALTANA’s innovative solutions are anchored in the lives of many people.” While demand in some segments, for example in the automotive sector, declined significantly due to the pandemic, consumer-oriented and sustainable solutions on the part of ALTANA increased in importance.

The company reports that sales of the largest division, BYK, declined by 3% to €1,009 million. Adjusted for currency and acquisition effects, sales were 4% below the previous year’s level. Following a significant decline in sales volume as a result of the lockdown in the second quarter, sales recovered rapidly, particularly in the field paint and coating additives sector. This development was driven, among other things, by strong demand in the DIY sector.

The effect pigments specialist ECKART achieved sales of €315 million, corresponding to a decline of 11%. The main reason was the pandemic-related weak demand in the automotive sector as well as other industries, such as the cosmetics sector. The discontinuation of the white pigments trading business in China in mid-2019 also contributed to this development.

ELANTAS, the supplier of electrical insulation materials, recorded sales of €463 million, 6% below the 2019 figure. ACTEGA achieved significant growth in the 2020 fiscal year compared to 2019, increasing its sales by 9% to €391 million. The division particularly benefitted from a shift in consumer behavior toward even more sustainable solutions, including PVC-free sealants for food packaging.

Looking forward, ALTANA expects the coronavirus pandemic to be further contained in the current year and the global economy to recover as a result. In this environment, the company forecasts operating sales growth in the low to mid single-digit percentage range with a lower EBITDA margin compared to 2020.

Learn more about ALTANA at www.altana.com.