WESEL, Germany – The specialty chemicals group ALTANA was able to further increase sales in the 2011 business year compared to its record year in 2010, despite an increasingly challenging environment. Sales climbed to EUR 1,617 million, corresponding to an increase of 5 percent compared to the previous year (EUR 1,535 million). Adjusted for exchange rate as well as acquisition effects, the operating sales growth was also 5 percent. While sales in the first months of 2011 increased in the double-digit percentage area, ALTANA was confronted with declining sales momentum in the second half of the year.
Despite the growth in sales, the group's 2011 earnings figures remained slightly below the figures achieved in the previous year. This is mainly attributable to the costs of raw materials that increased significantly throughout the business year. Despite the implemented sales price increases and countermeasures relating to the company's fixed costs, it was not possible to fully offset the rise in the prices of materials for the year as a whole. As a result, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in 2011 decreased slightly by 2 percent to EUR 308 million, compared to EUR 314 million in the previous year. At 19.1 percent, the EBITDA margin, however, remained at a high level and within the company's strategic target range of 18 percent to 20 percent.
The BYK Additives & Instruments division generated sales of EUR 582 million in 2011 (previous year: EUR 541 million), which corresponds to a significant increase of 8 percent. ECKART Effect Pigments was the only division that was not able to achieve a sales increase in 2011. At EUR 347 million, the division's sales were 3 percent down on the previous year (EUR 357 million). Sales in the ELANTAS Electrical Insulation division grew by 4 percent to EUR 391 million (previous year: EUR 377 million). The highest percentage growth in sales was achieved by the ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants division, where sales climbed by 14 percent to EUR 297 million (previous year: EUR 260 million). This growth resulted primarily from ACTEGA's acquisition of the Color Chemie Group in July 2011.