MUTTENZ, Switzerland – Specialty chemicals company Clariant announced full-year 2011 sales of CHF 7,370 billion, compared to CHF 7,120 billion in 2010. Sales grew 16 percent in local currencies and 4 percent in Swiss francs. The lower growth in Swiss francs was a result of the significant appreciation of the Swiss franc against most major currencies on a year-on-year basis.
Due to the acquisition of Süd-Chemie and the strength of the Business Unit Catalysis & Energy in the third and fourth quarters, sales were higher in the second half of the year, despite a significant slowdown in some businesses towards year-end.
In addition to Catalysis & Energy, which had another record-year, the non-cyclical Business Units Additives, Functional Materials, Industrial & Consumer Specialties, and Oil & Mining Services contributed significantly to the sales increase in 2011. Those non-cyclical businesses account for more than 50 percent of group sales. In contrast, the cyclical Business Units Pigments and Masterbatches suffered from a slowdown in industrial production that started at the beginning of the second half and resulted in destocking activities along the value chain. All regions grew at a double-digit rate in local currencies.
The double-digit increase in sales was driven by year year-on-year sales price increases of 7 percent and by acquisitions, which contributed 14 percent to sales growth. Volumes were 5 percent lower, reflecting the lower demand in the second half of the year.
The gross margin decreased to 26.7 percent from 27.9 percent in full-year 2010. Lower volumes, negative currency effects and a one-time charge were the main drivers of the slightly lower margin, and were only partly offset by successful sales price management.
CEO Hariolf Kottmann commented, “In 2011, we started to transform Clariant into a highly profitable specialty chemicals company, based on a strong technology base and a solid financial position. The acquisition of Süd-Chemie marked a milestone in this process. In addition, Clariant continued to invest in its growth businesses and supported the mature businesses in improving their profitability. This is reflected in a better performance despite challenging and volatile business conditions. In 2012, we will intensify the efforts to sustainably increase the quality and performance of the portfolio.”