- Operating sales increase by 6 percent
- EBITDA slightly below first six months of previous year due to higher raw material costs
- Forecast for 2018 as a whole confirmed
The specialty chemicals company ALTANA continued on its growth path in the first half of 2018. Nominal sales rose by 3 percent, and, adjusted for acquisition and exchange-rate effects, by 6 percent to 1,200 million euros. In addition to the expanded sales volumes, the main drivers were price increases as well as contributions from completed acquisitions. On the other hand, the exchange-rate development, especially that of the U.S. dollar against the euro, curbed sales growth.
In the first six months of 2018, the ALTANA Group achieved earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 252 million euros. On account of significantly higher raw material prices, the result is 4 percent below the previous year’s figure despite the sales price increases that were implemented. But the EBITDA margin, at 21.0 percent, remained above the target range of 18 to 20 percent.
ALTANA confirms its forecast for the whole of 2018
“In the first half-year of 2018, ALTANA remained on the growth path. Thanks to the dynamic demand for our innovative products, we were able to successfully master the challenges we faced on the raw material and currency markets,” says Martin Babilas, the CEO of ALTANA AG. “Our aim is to continue to grow organically and to achieve sustained profitability in the future too due to acquisitions.” ALTANA confirms its forecast for the whole year. Sales are expected to grow in operating terms by between 2 and 5 percent. Considerably higher material costs resulting from raw material price increases are expected to lead to slightly lower profitability. As a result, the EBITDA margin is expected to be closer to the longterm target range of 18 to 20 percent.
Dynamic divisional sales growth
The four ALTANA divisions, BYK, ECKART, ELANTAS, and ACTEGA, grew dynamically in the first half of 2018. The largest division, BYK, increased its nominal sales by 4 percent and in operating terms by 6 percent to 561 million euros. Sales were driven in particular by the strong demand in China for the solutions of the additives specialist as well as by impetus from the PolyAd companies acquired last year.
The ECKART division’s sales amounted to 203 million euros, with nominal sales 1 percent and in operating terms 5 percent higher than in the same period of the previous year. The supplier of electrical insulating materials, ELANTAS, generated the strongest sales growth, both in nominal and operating terms rising by 7 percent to 260 million euros.
Due to the stronger demand for solutions for the packaging industry, ACTEGA’s sales rose by 4 percent in operating terms to 176 million euros; in nominal terms, sales remained at the prior year’s level owing to detrimental exchange-rate changes.
Growth driver Asia
In the first six months of 2018, all of the regions ALTANA is active in contributed to the operating sales growth. The ALTANA Group’s innovative and sustainable solutions were in particularly strong demand in Asia (adjusted for currency as well as acquisition effects, sales increased by 8 percent to 396 million euros). China once again demonstrated strong momentum, with operating sales growth of 12 percent to 221 million euros.
In Europe, sales increased by 4 percent in operating terms to 466 million euros, with 145 million euros generated in Germany (plus 1 percent). At 318 million euros, sales in North and South America lagged slightly behind the previous year’s level. In operating terms, sales grew by 5 percent, and the company’s largest single market, the U.S., boosted its operating sales growth by 4 percent to 223 million euros.
At the half-year mark in 2018 (June 30), the specialty chemicals company employed 6,307 people, 168 more than on June 30, 2017.