WESEL, Germany - The specialty chemicals Group ALTANA continued and further strengthened its positive business performance over the first six months of the current business year. Compared to the first half of 2009, the company increased sales by 43 percent to EUR 773.1 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) also climbed considerably from EUR 70.2 million to EUR 171.5 million. Considering that the first half of 2009, which serves as the basis for comparison, was heavily burdened by the economic crisis, 2010 first-half sales and earnings are also higher than comparable figures for 2008, which had not been affected by the crisis. The EBITDA margin improved to 22.2 percent (prior year: 13.0 percent). Earnings before taxes (EBT) rose significantly from EUR 24.5 million to EUR126.2 million.

Sales in the BYK Additives & Instruments division grew by 50 percent from EUR 186.0 million in the prior-year period to EUR 279.5 million. With sales amounting to EUR 180.2 million, the ECKART Effect Pigments division also recorded a significant growth of 44 percent on the prior year (EUR 125.4 million). Sales in the ELANTAS Electrical Insulation division grew by 44 percent as well, from EUR 128.8 million in the prior year to EUR 185.5 million. Sales in the ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants division, which was the least affected by the crisis in the prior-year period, rose by 27 percent, from EUR 100.8 million to EUR 127.9 million in the first half of 2010.

“The significant upward trend of the first quarter has further continued and stabilized,“ said Matthias L. Wolfgruber, CEO of ALTANA AG. He continued that ALTANA had returned to the pre-crisis business level faster than expected, having been able to profit from a very positive business performance as well as from inventory effects and favorable raw material prices. However, even though ALTANA is anticipating a successful business year 2010, the company will wait to see how sustained the upswing is going to be. “We expect that our business will still be marked by increased volatility in the near future. This is why we will continue to operate prudently. On the whole, however, it is clear that we have returned to our long-term, profitable growth path,“ said Wolfgruber.