AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands - Akzo Nobel N.V. (AkzoNobel) reported a six percent increase in first-quarter revenue compared with the same period in 2011, mainly driven by pricing actions to offset higher raw material costs. The EBITDA for the first quarter was three percent lower at EUR 423 million, due to weaker end markets and cost inflation. The company reported a reduction in net income in the first quarter of 47 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011. Net income from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2012 was EUR 70 million compared to EUR 132 million in the first quarter of 2011.
Overall raw material prices remain a challenge. Looking forward, the company expects the higher oil and TiO2 prices on average to have an inflationary impact.
Cash from operating activities was impacted by a one-time pension payment and the seasonal build-up of operating working capital.
Decorative Paints achieved a revenue increase of four percent in the first quarter, primarily driven by margin management in weak markets. Lower volumes impacted EBITDA, particularly in North America, which benefited last year from a one-time positive customer load-in. Restructuring and cost reduction actions are underway in Europe and North America to offset weaker demand.
In Performance Coatings, revenue increased 11 percent and EBITDA was up 15 percent compared with the previous year. Industrial Coatings – boosted by acquisition activity – achieved the strongest growth, followed by Marine and Protective Coatings. Although overall activity levels were flat, there was significant variability between individual segments.
Specialty Chemicals revenue was up four percent, mainly due to the Boxing Oleochemicals acquisition and a positive price/mix effect. EBITDA was two percent lower, reflecting different trading conditions in certain businesses.
CEO Hans Wijers commented, "We are continuing to focus on performance improvement. Our global margin management efforts are also proving successful as we continue to mitigate the adverse effects of higher raw material costs. However, our volumes were down slightly, reflecting the volatile nature of the economic conditions. Despite these challenges, we have solid fundamentals, renowned brands and a strong geographic spread. Furthermore, the ongoing performance improvement program shows that we are taking the right steps towards achieving our medium-term ambitions."