The specialty chemicals group ALTANA recorded a pleasing increase in both sales and earnings in the first half of the 2017 fiscal year. Compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, sales saw a significant rise of 9% to €1,160 million. Adjusted for acquisition and divestment as well as exchange-rate effects, sales grew by 6%.
At €262 million, ALTANA’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved by around 5%. At 22.6%, the EBITDA margin was slightly lower than the previous year’s figure (23.4 percent).
Martin Babilas, chief executive officer of ALTANA said, “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. Our innovative ability coupled with our acquisition strategy and, not least, our financial strength, constitute a solid foundation for further sustainable and profitable growth.”
ALTANA confirms its forecast for the full-year 2017, still anticipating operating sales growth of 2-5% 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, ECKART, and ELANTAS on an expansion course
With growth rates of between 5% and 15%, the BYK Additives & Instruments, ECKART Effect Pigments, and ELANTAS Electrical Insulation 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% in nominal terms to €540 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%. ECKART posted growth of 11% to €200 million. At 10%, the division’s operating growth was slightly lower. Both divisions benefited, in particular, from the strong demand from the Chinese market.
The ELANTAS Electrical Insulation division, too, benefited from the high demand from China and, in addition, from positive demand in Europe. Due to the higher volume, the division’s sales rose to €244 million, which represents a nominal increase of 5% on the previous year’s figure. Operating sales grew by 3%.
Sales in the ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants division in the first six months of 2017 amounted to €176 million, 3% 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.
Fastest pace of growth posted in Asia
The ALTANA Group generated its strongest sales growth in Asia, where sales rose by 15% to €372 million. In China, sales grew by as much as 23% to €198 million. Sales in the Americas increased by 10% to €325 million. In the US, sales were up by 13% to €229 million, mainly attributable to the acquisitions that were made in this region. Sales in Europe rose by 4%.
The ALTANA Group’s sales distribution according to regions continues to be balanced, with Europe accounting for 38% of total sales, Asia for 32%, and the Americas for 28%. At the end of the first half of 2017, the group employed 6,139 people. As of 30 June 2016, the number of employees was 5,896.