Clariant has “good start” into 2015
Specialty chemical supplier Clariant has gotten off to what it calls a “good start” in 2015.
Swiss-based Clariant reported first quarter 2015 sales from continuing operations of CHF 1.465 billion (Cdn$1.15906 billion) compared to CHF 1.492 billion in the first quarter of 2014.
Clariant had a good start into the year with good volume growth,” said. “We put the highest priority in 2015 on improving our cash flow generation and we delivered a substantial increase in the first quarter,” said Clariant CEO Hariolf Kottmann. “We are well on track to achieve our growth and profitability targets despite an increased volatility in currencies, volatile raw material prices and a sluggish economic environment particularly in Europe and China.”
Clariant posted strong local currency sales growth of 23% in Latin America, the company said in a statement. “Sales in Asia/Pacific increased 8% in local currencies, driven by smaller economies, as India and China did not contribute to growth in the first quarter,” Clariant said. “In the Middle East & Africa region, sales were 6% lower year-on-year in local currencies compared to a higher basis in the first quarter in 2014. Europe was 2% lower in local currencies, mostly driven by regional weaknesses in pigments and functional minerals.”
All business areas achieved underlying sales growth in local currencies for the first quarter, Clariant said, with sales of plastics and coatings increasing by 1% “as strong demand in March compensated for a weak start into 2015. Plastics and coatings was negatively affected by a slow start into the beginning of the quarter. However, profitability…is expected to pick up in the coming months.”
For the year to come, the company expects an “ongoing challenging environment characterized by an increased volatility in commodity prices and currencies.” In emerging markets, “the economic environment is expected to remain favorable, but at a lower level and with increased volatility,” Clariant said. “Moderate growth should continue in the United States. However, growth in Europe is expected to remain weak. The combined effect of the appreciation of the Swiss franc with the weakening of the euro will impact Clariant’s sales and profitability in absolute terms, but it will be fairly neutral in terms of relative margins.”