- Sales decrease by 3% to €4,735 million, mainly on account of lower prices
- EBIT before special items improves considerably thanks to reduced fixed costs
In the Care Chemicals division, sales to third parties fell by €165 million to €4,735 million in 2016. This was predominantly the result of reduced prices due to lower raw material prices and ongoing intense competition in the hygiene business. Negative currency effects, especially from the Argentinian peso and Brazilian real, additionally dampened sales.
Sales volumes matched the prior-year level in a market environment that remained difficult. We increased sales volumes, especially in our business with ingredients for the detergents and cleaners industry, as well as in the Asia Pacific region. This compensated for lower demand, especially in the hygiene business and in South America.
We were able to reduce fixed costs through strict cost discipline, thereby more than offsetting the continued pressure on margins that came largely from the hygiene business. As a consequence, EBIT before special items rose slightly compared with the previous year. Special charges were predominantly attributable to restructuring measures.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, we started up the expanded production facility for chelating agents, including Trilon® M, at the site in Ludwigshafen, Germany. We increased production volumes of surfactants in Dahej, India, in 2016. We continued modification work for the new superabsorbent technology at the site in Antwerp, Belgium, and plan to complete this in 2017.