COLOGNE, Germany - Specialty chemicals group LANXESS got off to a successful start in 2011 and is experiencing a strong second quarter so far, laying the foundation for a significant improvement in its operating result compared with last year.

LANXESS confirms its forecast for the full-year 2011. EBITDA pre-exceptionals is expected to increase by 10 to 15 percent, exceeding EUR 1 billion for the first time.

“We are well positioned, and our growth strategy puts us right on track for continued success in the future,” said Axel C. Heitmann, Chairman of the LANXESS Board of Management.

LANXESS posted a significant jump in earnings in the first quarter. Earnings rose even faster than sales. EBITDA pre-exceptionals climbed by nearly 40 percent to EUR 322 million. Net income rose to EUR 166 million, more than 60 percent above the same period of 2010. Group sales advanced by 29 percent to EUR 2.1 billion.

Heitmann underlined the role of Germany in LANXESS’ growth story. In Germany alone, first-quarter sales rose by 29 percent against the prior-year period to EUR 398 million and accounted for nearly one fifth of total group sales.