Altana: Dynamic upward trend continues

The specialty chemicals Group ALTANA continued and further strengthened its positive business performance over the first six months of the current business year. Compared to the first half of 2009, the company increased sales by 43% to €773.1 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) also climbed considerably from €70.2 million to €171.5 million. For all figures it has to be taken into account that the first half of 2009 which serves as the basis for comparison was heavily burdened by the economic crisis. However, 2010 first-half sales and earnings are also higher than comparable figures for 2008 which had not been affected by the crisis. The EBITDA margin improved to 22.2% (prior year: 13.0%). Earnings before taxes (EBT) rose significantly from €24.5 million to €126.2 million.

Development by division
Sales in the BYK Additives & Instruments division grew by 50% from €186.0 million in the prior-year period to €279.5 million. With sales amounting to €180.2 million, the ECKART Effect Pigments division also recorded a significant growth of 44% on the prior year (€125.4 million). Sales in the ELANTAS Electrical Insulation division grew by 44% too, from €128.8 million in the prior year to €185.5 million. Sales in the ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants division, which was the least affected by the crisis in the prior-year period, rose by 27%, from €100.8 million to €127.9 million in the first half of 2010.

Rising raw material prices and increased volatility characterize the environment
"The significant upward trend of the first quarter has further continued and stabilized," stated Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber, CEO of ALTANA AG. He continued that ALTANA had returned to the pre-crisis business level faster than expected, having been able to profit from a very positive business performance as well as from inventory effects and favorable raw material prices. However, even though ALTANA is anticipating a successful business year 2010, one would have to wait and see how sustained the upswing is going to be. "We expect that our business will still be marked by increased volatility in the near future. This is why we will continue to operate prudently. On the whole, however, it is clear that we have returned to our long-term, profitable growth path."

For the business year 2010 as a whole, Altana anticipates a significant growth in sales compared to the crisis-burdened prior year. From their current perspective they expect to achieve at least the sales level of before the onset of the worldwide economic crisis, in the current business year. The increase in sales should result in a disproportionate development of our key earnings figures. In general, however, the company expects that the dynamic growth in demand will slow down and that volatility will increase. As a consequence, a decline in sales performance for the upcoming months cannot be ruled out. Uncertainty remains high with regard to a sustained level of demand and to the stability of the general economic conditions as well as that of the chemical industry.