Half-year results 2017: Altana accelerates growth momentum

The specialty chemicals Group Altana recorded a pleasing increase in both sales and earnings in the first half of the 2017 fiscal year. Three factors contributed to this growth momentum.

Sales rise significantly by 9 percent to EUR1 -

Compared to the previous year’s period, sales saw a significant rise of 9 percent to EUR1,160 million. Adjusted for acquisition and divestment as well as exchange-rate effects, sales grew by 6 percent. At EUR262 million, Altana’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved by around 5 percent. At 22.6 percent, the EBITDA margin was slightly lower than the previous year’s figure (23.4 percent).

High demand for products

“The Altana Group’s growth momentum in the first of half of 2017 was significantly stronger than in the first six months of the previous year. The key driver is the high demand for our innovative products. Furthermore, the acquisitions that were carried out in the past months and strengthen our divisions also contributed to this growth,” said Martin Babilas, CEO of Altana AG. “Our innovative ability coupled with our acquisition strategy and, not least, our financial strength, constitute a solid foundation for further sustainable and profitable growth.”

Forecast for the full year confirmed

Altana confirms its forecast for the full-year 2017, still anticipating operating sales growth of 2 to 5 percent with slightly lower earnings profitability. While the recent acquisitions are expected to provide additional momentum for nominal growth, it remains difficult to predict the effects resulting from rather volatile exchange rate developments.

Byk and Eckart on expansion course

With growth rates of between 5 and 15 percent, the Byk Additives & Instruments and Eckart Effect Pigments divisions were clearly on an expansion course in the first half of 2017.

The strongest growth was achieved by Byk, with an increase in sales of 15 percent in nominal terms to EUR540 million. The division’s growth was considerably accelerated by the acquisitions of Addcomp in July 2016 and PolyAd Services in March 2017. Byk’s operating sales growth, i.e. sales growth adjusted for acquisition and divestment as well as exchange-rate effects, was at 9 percent.

Eckart posted growth of 11 percent to EUR200 million. At 10 percent, the division’s operating growth was slightly lower. Both divisions benefitted, in particular, from the strong demand from the Chinese market.

Sales in the Actega Coatings & Sealants division in the first six months of 2017 amounted to EUR176 million, 3 percent down on the previous year’s figure. Adjusted for the impact of the sale of Actega Colorchemie GmbH and its subsidiaries, Actega’s sales were on a par with the previous year’s level.

Strongest growth in China

The Altana Group generated its strongest sales growth in Asia, where sales rose by 15 percent to EUR372 million. In China, sales grew by as much as 23 percent to EUR198 million. Sales in the Americas increased by 10 percent to EUR325 million. In the U.S., sales were up by 13 percent to EUR229 million, mainly attributable to the acquisitions that were made in this region. Sales in Europe rose by 4 percent. The Altana Group’s sales distribution according to regions continues to be balanced, with Europe accounting for 38 percent of total sales, Asia for 32 percent, and the Americas for 28 percent.

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