Clariant Sales Increase 2% in 2019 First Quarter Despite Slow Start in Plastics & Coatings Segment
On a regional basis, sales in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa all reflected single-digit growth in local currency.
Clariant recently announced first quarter 2019 sales of CHF 1.7 billion (approximately $1.7 billion). According to the company, this corresponds to 2% organic growth in local currency, driven by higher pricing in all business areas.
On a regional basis, sales in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa all reflected single-digit growth in local currency. Sales in both North America and Asia were down slightly (1%). The continued weaker demand in China reportedly negatively influenced group sales in the 2019 first quarter.
The improved sales performance in the first quarter of 2019 reportedly resulted from expansion in the Care Chemicals, Catalysis, and Natural Resources business areas. Sales in Care Chemicals increased by 2% in local currency, although they were unfavorably impacted by the Aviation business due to the mild weather. Excluding Aviation, Care Chemicals’ sales rose in mid-single-digits in local currency. Catalysis sales grew by a 4% in local currency compared to a record first quarter in 2018. Natural Resources sales accelerated by 10% in local currency, mainly lifted by good Oil & Mining Services demand but also solid growth in Functional Minerals.
In Plastics & Coatings, sales declined by 2% in local currency, largely as a result of the weaker-than-anticipated automotive and plastics markets, as well as the further economic slowdown, particularly in China. However, underlying demand in China remains solid, and Clariant reports that it expects to see a gradual improvement throughout the remainder of 2019.
“In the first three months of this year, Clariant delivered continued organic sales growth despite the challenging macroeconomic environment,” said Ernesto Occhiello, CEO. “Our focus on customer experience and fast, reliable customer fulfillment is particularly noticeable in the progression of the Business Areas Care Chemicals, Catalysis and Natural Resources. Despite Plastics & Coatings being negatively impacted by the current economic and business environments, we are confident in our ability to progress throughout the year. We will continue to identify and address the next challenges and future demands of our customers, leading to above-market growth, higher profitability and stronger cash generation.”
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