Clariant to expand global manufacturing of masterbatches
Company also posts slight sales drop in 2015.
With annual profits down slightly, Swiss-based specialty chemical maker Clariant is nonetheless investing more than CHF 7.5 million (US$7.5 million) in specialized equipment and facilities to expand the capabilities and capacities for the production of color and additive masterbatches for use in engineering resins and high-temperature plastics like PEEK (polyether ether ketone).
The largest investment has been earmarked for unidentified Clariant plants in Shanghai, Singapore, and at two plants in the U.S.
“Global demand for high-temperature plastics and compatible masterbatches is booming” the company said in a statement. “Fueled by new products in the automotive, small consumer electronics and electrical markets, the use of engineering materials is growing at annual rates of 7 or 8%, well above the growth rate of the plastics industry as a whole.”
The announcement comes at the same time as Clariant said its 2015 sales declined slightly compared to 2014 as a result of the strong Swiss franc and global economic uncertainty.
Clariant announced full year 2015 sales of CHF5.807 billion (US$5.8 billion) compared to CHF6.116 billion (US$6.1 billion) in 2014. “This corresponds to a 3% growth in local currencies mainly driven by higher volumes,” the company said in a statement.
“Growth in the Americas was good, with sales in local currencies up 19% in Latin America and 4% in North America,” the company said. “Europe was 1% lower in local currencies impacted by a weaker end-market demand. Lower growth came from the regions Asia Pacific and Middle East & Africa. Sales in Asia Pacific decreased by 1% in local currencies and were affected by a weak demand in China, which could not be compensated by the stronger demand of smaller economies in Asia. In the Middle East & Africa region, sales were down 6% year-on-year in local currencies.”