- Sales decrease by 6% to €2,681 million on account of lower prices
- Lower margins primarily responsible for considerable year-on-year decline in EBIT before special items
Compared with 2015, sales to third parties decreased by €168 million to €2,681 million in the Intermediates division. Sales prices fell once again, due to a sharp drop in raw material prices. In the butanediol and derivatives market, intense competitive pressure from the startup of new capacities in Asia additionally weighed down prices.
We were able to raise our volumes overall, predominantly driven by higher sales volumes of amines in North America and of polyalcohols, especially neopentylglycol, in Asia.
EBIT before special items in 2016 was considerably below the previous year’s level. This was mainly the result of substantially shrunken margins in the butanediol and derivatives business. Slowing the decline were improved margins in the polyalcohols business. Fixed costs rose year-on-year, mainly as a result of several production plants beginning operation in the second half of 2015. Special charges resulted predominantly from impairments on assets.
We expanded our butanediol capacities in Geismar, Louisiana, in 2016. With our partner PETRONAS, we started up a plant for 2-ethylhexanoic acid in Kuantan, Malaysia; in Korla, China, we have been producing polytetrahydrofuran (PolyTHF®) since July 2016 with our partner Markor.