• Q1 EBITDA pre EUR 369 million, up 15% yr-on-yr;
• Q1 sales EUR 2.4 billion, up 15%;
• Q1 net profit EUR 193 million, up 16%;
• Outlook 2012: FY EBITDA pre expected to grow 5-10% vs. 2011.
Sales increased roughly 15 percent year-on-year to EUR 2.4 billion. This was mainly due to price increases of nine percent that fully offset rising raw material costs. Positive portfolio effects of seven percent were mainly attributed to the Keltan-EPDM-business acquired from DSM. In addition, positive currency effects of two percent supported sales. Volumes declined by three percent from the very strong first quarter a year earlier.
The EBITDA pre exceptionals margin remained unchanged at 15.5 percent and net profit increased by 16 percent year-on-year to EUR 193 million.
“In view of our very good start to the year, we expect EBITDA pre exceptionals to increase five to ten percent year-on-year in 2012,” said Axel C. Heitmann, LANXESS’ Chairman of the Board of Management. “Our confidence is based on our strategic focus on premium products and innovative technologies, which serve the megatrends and emerging markets.”
Operating cash flow rose to EUR 129 million from EUR 36 million a year ago. Net debt at the end of the first quarter 2012 was roughly EUR 1.5 billion. “It was thus practically unchanged from the end of 2011 despite increased net working capital needs in line with stronger business activity,” said Chief Financial Officer Bernhard Duettmann. “Profitable growth, coupled with a solid financial position, remains central to our business.”
Performance by region
EMEA (Europe excluding Germany, Middle East, Africa) remained the largest sales region in the first quarter, with 29 percent of overall Group sales. The region increased sales by nine percent to EUR 699 million. Russia and Poland were among the countries with the strongest growth rates.
Sales in Germany rose five percent to EUR 416 million in the first quarter and represented 17 percent of Group sales.
North America showed the strongest top-line growth, with sales up 29 percent year-on-year to EUR 423 million, representing 18 percent of Group sales.
Latin America increased sales by 23 percent year-on-year to EUR 301 million in the first quarter due to the company’s strong foothold in Brazil. The region represented 13 percent of Group sales.
Asia-Pacific increased sales by 19 percent year-on-year to EUR 549 million in the first quarter, representing 23 percent of Group sales. China and Thailand showed the strongest sales growth.
Sales in the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) rose 21 percent year-on-year to EUR 554 million and represented 23 percent of Group sales in the first quarter.
Performance by segment
Sales of the Performance Polymers segment rose 28 percent year-on-year to EUR 1.4 billion due to higher prices and a strong contribution from the Keltan-EPDM-business acquired in May 2011. EBITDA pre exceptionals also rose 28 percent year-on-year to EUR 255 million. LANXESS’ high-performance synthetic rubbers and high-tech plastics remained in high demand from the tire and automotive industries respectively.
The business unit Semi-Crystalline Products (SCP), one of the leading suppliers of high-tech plastics for the automotive and electronic industries, has been renamed High Performance Materials (HPM), with immediate effect. The new name reflects the numerous advantages provided by the business unit’s product portfolio to its customers. One example is high-tech plastics that lower the weight of automotive parts and thus reduce fuel consumption.
First-quarter sales in the Advanced Intermediates segment rose three percent year-on-year to EUR 429 million. Both Advanced Industrial Intermediates and Saltigo benefited from ongoing strong demand in the agrochemical industry. EBITDA pre exceptionals fell seven percent year-on-year to EUR 70 million due to weaker demand in the construction, coatings and pharmaceutical industries.
Sales of the Performance Chemicals segment were practically flat year-on-year in the first quarter at EUR 558 million, with price increases and contributions from newly-acquired businesses helping to offset volume declines. EBITDA pre exceptionals in the segment fell eight percent year-on-year to EUR 83 million mainly due to weaker demand in the construction and electronic industries.
“With the pleasing start to the year, we have created a good basis to continue on our successful growth path also in 2012,” said Heitmann. LANXESS expects for the full-year 2012 EBITDA pre exceptionals to rise by five to ten percent from EUR 1,146 million in 2011.
LANXESS still expects that the high levels of sovereign debt in some of the established countries, along with the austerity programs launched as a result, could detract from steady economic development. Currency exchange rates, as well as raw material and energy costs, will remain volatile. LANXESS will continue to stick to its proven price-before-volume strategy.
“Furthermore, LANXESS is bringing on stream new capacities in all three segments. We will also sharpen our focus on innovation and the latest technologies in order to develop premium products for our customers. Our synthetic rubbers and high-tech plastics will play a leading role especially in the “Green Mobility”,” added Heitmann.
LANXESS (lanxess.com) is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 8.8 billion in 2011 and currently around 16,700 employees in 30 countries. The company is at present represented at 48 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals. LANXESS is a member of the leading sustainable indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) World and FTSE4Good.