- Sales improve significantly, mainly thanks to inclusion of Cognis
- Considerable rise in earnings
- Special charges increase due to Cognis integration
- Outlook 2012: sales growth; significant increase in earnings with a considerable decline in integration expenses
Care Chemicals – Sales by region
(Location of customer)
Compared with the previous year, we almost doubled our sales in the Care Chemicals division, which rose by €2,419 million to €5,174 million. This considerable growth was mainly attributable to the inclusion of the Cognis businesses (volumes 1%, prices 5%, portfolio 84%, currencies –2%).
In the first half of the year, our business developed successfully thanks to strong demand. In certain product lines we were unable to fully meet demand on account of delivery bottlenecks for precursors. During this time period, we were able to pass on the significant rise in raw material prices to the market through our sales prices. Over the course of the second half of the year, demand from our customer industries weakened, as customers began reducing their inventories in response to growing economic uncertainty. Sales volumes overall matched the high prior-year level. The weaker U.S. dollar had a negative impact on sales.
Despite high special charges, we achieved a significant improvement in income from operations compared with the previous year. The special charges resulted in particular from the integration of Cognis. As expected, they were considerably higher than in the previous year.
The integration of Cognis activities was successful; we reached all important milestones by the end of the year, as planned.
In Nanjing, China, our first nonionic surfactant plant in Asia started up ahead of schedule. Furthermore, we expanded the capacity of our hygiene business in North America.
In 2012, we aim to grow faster than the market and to increase our sales. We expect earnings to grow significantly as expenses for the integration of Cognis decrease and margins remain stable.