MUTTENZ, Switzerland – Specialty chemicals company Clariant announced 2012 full-year sales from continuing operations of CHF 6.038 billion compared to CHF 5.571 billion in the previous-year period. This corresponds to an increase of 8 percent in local currencies and in Swiss francs. The increase was driven by the acquisition of Süd-Chemie, while organic growth was flat, with 2 percent higher prices offsetting lower volumes.
Sales development in 2012 was heterogeneous across all regions and businesses. From a regional perspective, all regions except Europe had double-digit growth. Europe declined 2 percent, while growth dynamics in Asia-Pacific remained robust during the year. The pronounced weakness in southern Europe has spread across the continent in the second half of the year. However, with roughly two-thirds of sales generated outside of Europe, the impact of the European crisis on Clariant was offset by growth in the other regions. In the fourth quarter, no further deterioration of the business environment from third-quarter levels was observed.
In the fourth quarter, Clariant reported 2 percent sales growth in local currencies on the back of 3 percent higher volumes and 1 percent lower prices. In Swiss francs, sales were 1 percent higher, at CHF 1.509 billion compared to CHF 1.491 billion a year ago. Compared to the third quarter of 2012, both sales prices and raw material costs decreased 1 percent. Sales growth in the fourth quarter was driven by strength in Oil & Mining Services and Catalysis & Energy, while Functional Materials, Industrial & Consumer Specialties, Masterbatches, and Pigments developed stable year-on-year, Additives was adversely impacted by the ongoing weakness in the electronics industry. At the regional level, Latin America grew double-digit in local currencies, while North America and Asia-Pacific were slightly above the previous year’s level. EMEA was flat with good growth in the Middle East compensating for the weakness in Europe.
CEO Hariolf Kottmann commented, “Clariant achieved solid results in a demanding year, with the majority of businesses performing well. In most regions, the company continued on a robust growth path. In Europe, the economic weakness affected some of the more cyclical businesses. Concerning the repositioning of Clariant, the company has made good progress. Five businesses have been reclassified as discontinued operations, and an agreement to divest three of those businesses has already been signed. The focus in 2013 will now be on growing the remaining seven core businesses. Combined with continuous cost efficiency, the reshaped Clariant is well positioned to achieve its 2015 targets.”
For 2013, Clariant expects a persisting soft macroeconomic environment characterized by high volatility. While solid growth in the emerging markets is most likely, no significant growth impulses are expected from the European and the North American economies.