First Half 2018 - Strong growth progressionClariant today announced first half 2018 sales of CHF 3.389 billion compared to CHF 3.132 billion in the first half of 2017. This corresponds to 7 % growth in local currency and 8 % in Swiss francs. Sales growth was supported by organic growth contributions from all Business Areas, in particular Catalysis and Care Chemicals.
Most of the regions contributed to the good sales growth. Sales in Asia advanced by an excellent 12 % in local currency. This improvement was due to a particularly strong sales expansion in China. In Latin America, sales grew 12 % reflecting the recovery of the macroeconomic environment in this region. Sales in North America were up by 7 % and 3 % in Europe.
Care Chemicals and Catalysis both reported continued excellent sales developments. Sales in Care Chemicals rose by 9 % in local currency driven by both Consumer Care and Industrial Applications. Catalysis sales climbed by a considerable 22 % in local currency with a remarkable organic sales growth of 15 %.
Sales in Natural Resources increased by 4 % in local currency due to an improving demand from the oil market. Plastics & Coatings reported 3 % local currency growth against a strong comparable base with all three Business Units adding to the development.
EBITDA before exceptional items rose by 9 % and reached CHF 524 million compared to CHF 482 million in the previous year mainly supported by the performance in Care Chemicals, Catalysis and Plastics & Coatings.
The corresponding EBITDA margin before exceptional items improved to 15.5 % primarily due to the profitability improvement in Care Chemicals.
Net income increased by 38 % in to CHF 211 million from CHF 153 million in the previous year. The higher EBITDA and significantly lower exceptional items supported this development.
Operating cash flow was CHF 102 million. This is a decrease from the CHF 116 million in the previous year. A one-off tax settlement in Germany essentially offset the significant improvement in cash flow from operating activities.
Net debt increased to CHF 1.707 billion from CHF 1.539 billion recorded at year end 2017 reflecting the usual seasonal increase seen in the first half of the year.