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Key financial data of Clariant in 2018.
Key financial data of Clariant in 2018.

Clariant just announced full year 2018 sales of CHF 6.623 billion compared to CHF 6.377 billion in 2017. This corresponds to 5 % growth in local currency, all of which is organic, driven by a progression in all Business Areas, particularly in Catalysis. Both higher volumes and pricing underpinned this expansion.

For the full year, all regions contributed to the sales growth in local currency. Sales in Latin America grew the strongest, by 12 %. Sales in Asia increased by 7 %, bolstered by a particularly positive development in China and India. In North America, sales rose by 5 %. Both Europe and the Middle East & Africa increased sales by 2 %.

The improved sales performance for the full year resulted from growth in all Business Areas with Care Chemicals, Catalysis and Natural Resources reporting strong expansion. Sales in Care Chemicals rose by 7 % in local currency primarily supported by Consumer Care. Catalysis sales improved by an excellent 11 % in local currency with a strong organic sales growth amounting to 8 %.

In Plastics & Coatings, sales rose by 1 % in local currency with particularly strong regional expansion in Latin America.

EBITDA before exceptional items rose by 5 % in Swiss francs and reached CHF 1.018 billion, compared to CHF 974 million in the previous year. The absolute profitability improvement was attributable to the positive contributions from Care Chemicals, Catalysis and Plastics & Coatings.

The corresponding EBITDA margin before exceptional items advanced to 15.4 % from 15.3 % in the previous year.

Net income climbed by 18 % to CHF 356 million from CHF 302 million in full year 2017. This increase was supported by the improvement in absolute EBITDA as well as lower one-off costs and a lower effective tax rate.

Improvement in local currency sales and profitability in Q4

In the fourth quarter of 2018, sales rose by 3 % in local currency to CHF 1.629 billion. This represents a decrease of 3 % in Swiss francs year-on-year due to unfavorable currency fluctuations. The sales growth in local currency was mainly driven by Catalysis and Natural Resources.

Almost all regions contributed to the growth. In the Middle East & Africa, sales in local currency grew by a robust 15 % driven mainly by Catalysis. Sales in Latin America increased by 9 % in local currency supported by Oil & Mining Services, in North America by a solid 3 % and in Asia by 2 % with a slowing in China.

Only sales in Europe had a negative growth of 2 % largely due to the particularly challenging comparison base.

Outlook 2021: Expecting above-market growth and higher profitability

The company confirmed its 2021 guidance to achieve above-market growth, higher profitability and stronger cash generation.

"In 2018, Clariant achieved good sales and profit growth and significantly improved operating cash flow despite an increasingly challenging environment,” said Ernesto Occhiello, CEO of Clariant.

“Going forward, we will continue to identify and address the next challenges and future demands within our respective businesses and those of our customers. This, coupled with best customer experience and fast, reliable customer fulfillment will trigger above-market growth, higher profitability and stronger cash generation,” Occhiello continued.

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