WESEL, Germany – The specialty chemicals group ALTANA was able to match its prior-year level in terms of sales and operating earnings in the first half of 2013. Sales in the first six months of the current business year reached €887 million (prior year: €886 million). Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were at €178 million, compared to €180 million in the first half of 2012. At 20.1 percent, the EBITDA margin also remained at a high level.

"We are looking back on a successful first half year, in which we were able to maintain the strong prior-year level, despite the difficult overall economic conditions in Europe," said Matthias L. Wolfgruber, CEO of ALTANA AG.

In contrast to the same period in 2012, ALTANA recorded rising sales volumes in the first six months of the current business year. However, negative price mixes and exchange rate effects offset these. Nevertheless, the company again increased its research and development (R&D) expenses by eight percent.

ALTANA reaffirms its forecast for the full year and still anticipates a sales growth in the lower single-digit percentage range, with return on sales and capital being about as high as in the previous year. This does not include the expected effects of the acquisition of Rockwood's rheology business.