WESEL, Germany – The specialty chemicals group ALTANA increased sales by 5 percent to EUR 1.7 billion in the 2012 business year, achieving the company’s target level for the year. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) also grew by 5 percent, reaching EUR 323 million. At 19 percent, the EBITDA margin remained at a high level.
"In 2012, we proved once again that we are able to achieve profitable growth, even in a rapidly changing environment," said Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber, CEO of ALTANA AG. "This was possible because we have implemented our growth strategy consistently and acted flexibly.“
ALTANA was able to realize operating sales growth of 1 percent, despite stagnating sales volumes, by shifting to higher-grade specialty products and through price increases. Acquisitions contributed 1 percent to the overall growth; positive exchange rate effects accounted for 3 percent.
The BYK Additives & Instruments division, the group's division with the highest turnover, increased sales by 6 percent to EUR 618 million in 2012. Adjusted for positive exchange rate and acquisition effects, sales growth was 3 percent. As a result, BYK achieved the highest operating increase in sales within the ALTANA Group.
At EUR 341 million, sales in the ECKART Effect Pigments division were down 2 percent on the previous year (4 percent operating decrease). Positive exchange rate effects could not fully offset the ongoing market slowdown. The ELANTAS Electrical Insulation division was able to continue its growth trend, achieving an increase in sales of 6 percent to EUR 413 million (2 percent operating growth).
At EUR 334 million, sales for the ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants division were up 12 percent on the previous year (2 percent operating growth). This development was driven by the acquisition of the Colorchemie Group in mid-2011, which contributed to sales for a full business year for the first time in 2012.
In 2012, Europe once again accounted for the largest share in sales. Due to decreasing demand, particularly in southern Europe, operating sales were down by 2 percent on the previous year. At 10 percent, business in North and South America recorded the highest nominal growth rate (4 percent operating growth). Growth in Asia was not constant in 2012. Up to the middle of the year, growth rates, particularly in China, were at a low level. In the second half of the year, the region recorded double-digit sales increases. Overall, nominal and operating growth rates of the company's business in Asia were similar to those in the Americas.