• Dividend of EUR 1.00 per share proposed;
• Challenging year 2013;
• Fifth anniversaries of LANXESS arena and LANXESS education initiative;
• Move to Cologne on schedule.
Group sales rose by 4 percent to EUR 9,094 million. EBITDA pre exceptionals improved by 7 percent to EUR 1,225 million. Net income rose by 2 percent last year to EUR 514 million.
"We also want you, our stockholders, to benefit from the strong results of our businesses last year," said LANXESS’ Chairman of the Board of Management Axel C. Heitmann. The Board of Management and the Supervisory Board therefore proposed to the Annual Stockholders' Meeting that a dividend of EUR 1.00 per share be paid for 2012. That is nearly 18 percent more than for the previous year. The total payout to LANXESS stockholders exceeds EUR 83 million.
LANXESS takes action against weak demand
Heitmann also spoke about the challenging times LANXESS is facing in the current business year. In a weak market environment, particularly in the tire and automotive sectors, Group sales fell by 12 percent in the first quarter of 2013 to EUR 2.1 billion. EBITDA pre exceptionals receded by 53 percent year on year to EUR 174 million. Net income declined by 87 percent against the prior-year period, to EUR 25 million.
The company has already taken action against these developments. "LANXESS is responding to this in the way you would expect from us: quickly, decisively and purposefully," said Heitmann.
In the Performance Polymers segment, LANXESS has continued its policy of flexible asset and cost management, temporarily shutting down some facilities. In addition, the company is planning to implement measures in the Performance Chemicals segment. These measures are not designed simply to achieve short-term savings, but to raise the competitiveness of LANXESS' international sites in this segment in the medium and long term. In addition, the company is reducing its capital expenditure budget for 2013 from the previously planned level of between EUR 650 million and EUR 700 million to about EUR 600 million.
Recovery expected in the second half
LANXESS expects EBITDA pre exceptionals in the second quarter to improve sequentially, but to come in below EUR 220 million. Heitmann predicts an economic improvement during the second half of the year. "Asia, particularly China, will develop substantially better, whereas market conditions in Europe will remain difficult. We believe strong demand for agrochemicals will persist, and we also expect a moderate recovery in the construction industry," said Heitmann. LANXESS anticipates EBITDA pre exceptionals of below EUR 1 billion for the full year 2013.
The company is adhering to its mid-term EBITDA targets of EUR 1.4 billion and EUR 1.8 billion in 2014 and 2018, respectively. According to Heitmann, LANXESS continues to focus on technology-driven products, the emerging markets and the megatrends of agriculture, urbanization, water and mobility to achieve these goals.
"Green Mobility", in particular, remains a core growth area for LANXESS. In 2012, the company generated some 17 percent of total sales with products and technologies for "Green Mobility". LANXESS is helping to make tomorrow's mobility more efficient and eco-friendly with its high-tech plastics for light-weight automotive and aviation components and its high-performance synthetic rubbers for "Green Tires". The attendees at the Annual Stockholders' Meeting could see this for themselves from the exhibits and infographics.
Projects are underway in the company's three segments designed to contribute to the Group's continued growth. In the Performance Polymers segment, the official inauguration of the butyl rubber facility in Singapore will take place as planned on June 4, 2013. Commercial production will begin in the third quarter, as planned. In the Advanced Intermediates segment, LANXESS’ business unit Saltigo will invest up to EUR 100 million in agrochemical active ingredients at the Leverkusen site by 2015. In the Performance Chemicals segment, LANXESS opened a new plant in Brazil just a few days ago for the manufacture of high-performance bladders used in tire production.
Fifth anniversaries of LANXESS arena and LANXESS education initiative / Move to Cologne on schedule
This year's Annual Stockholders' Meeting took place for the fifth time at the LANXESS arena, for which the specialty chemicals company acquired the naming rights exactly five years ago.
Since the naming in June 2008, awareness for LANXESS among the German population has grown by nearly 30 percent. This was determined by an online survey carried out in Germany in March 2013 among some 500 participants with an interest in business affairs. Last year the arena was the most-visited event venue in Germany, with nearly 1.5 million spectators. And in the first quarter of this year, it was ranked third among multi-purpose venues worldwide.
Starting in September, LANXESS will be even more closely linked with Cologne, managing its global business from its new headquarters building "LANXESS Tower" at Kennedyplatz 1 in the immediate vicinity of the LANXESS arena. "Our new headquarters in Cologne represents a clear commitment to our operational base in Germany and to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia," said Axel C. Heitmann. The relocation is proceeding fully on schedule. Approximately 1,000 employees will move to the LANXESS Tower, with its roughly 38,500 square meters of office space, which will be officially inaugurated on September 3, 2013. The attendees at the Annual Stockholders' Meeting had an opportunity to view a model of the new headquarters.
The LANXESS education initiative was also established five years ago. Since 2008, the company has helped to promote science teaching in schools - in part through theme-based project weeks, knowledge competitions, and material as well as monetary donations. Most of the projects are in Germany. Since the end of last year, for example, the company has distributed specially developed chemistry experiment kits for use in elementary school lessons. A total of 270 municipal elementary schools in the communities near LANXESS' German sites have received an experiment kit. So far the company has invested some EUR 6 million in educational projects, with Germany alone accounting for EUR 4 million. In this way, LANXESS has reached approximately 100,000 children and young adults through some 200 projects globally.
"This commitment remains an integral part of our sustainable corporate strategy not only for the benefit of the people we support, but also for the company's benefit. After all, there's no denying the shortage of specialists in German industry. So everyone who is affected needs to get involved," said Heitmann.
LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 9.1 billion in 2012 and roughly 17,400 employees in 31 countries. The company is currently represented at 50 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 sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) World and FTSE4Good as well as the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI).