WESEL, Germany - The specialty chemicals Group ALTANA AG reported an increase in sales of 9 percent, up from EUR 773.1 million to EUR 840.3 million. However, sharply rising raw materials costs cut into the company's profit. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew less strongly by 1 percent to EUR 172.9 million, compared to EUR 171.5 million in the prior-year period. The EBITDA margin thus declined from 22.2 percent to 20.6 percent. Earnings before taxes (EBT) rose by 1 percent from EUR 126.2 million to EUR 127.0 million.

Sales in the BYK Additives & Instruments division rose strongly in the first six months of 2011; they were up from EUR 279.5 million in the prior-year period to EUR 314.4 million, which is an increase of 13 percent. The ECKART Effect Pigments division recorded sales of EUR 184.6 million, an increase of 2 percent on the prior year (EUR 180.2 million). Sales in the ELANTAS Electrical Insulation division improved by 10 percent and were up from EUR 185.5 million to EUR 203.3 million. The ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants division was also able to improve sales noticeably, achieving an increase of 8 percent. The division generated sales of EUR 138.0 million following EUR 127.9 million in the first half of 2010.

ALTANA anticipates sales growth comparable to the prior year for the second half of the current business year. However, compared to the first six months of 2011 the growth momentum is expected to slow down. The EBITDA margin 2011 should remain below the prior-year figure (20.5 percent) owing to raw materials cost increases.