- Sales grow considerably due to increased demand and higher sales prices
- Earnings improve significantly
- Startup of sodium methylate plant in Guaratinguetá, Brazil
- Outlook 2012: significant sales increase; decline in earnings due to divestiture of fertilizer business as well as lower margins for some basic products
Inorganics – Sales by region
(Location of customer)
Our sales to third parties were €1,415 million in 2011, exceeding the previous year’s level by €160 million (volumes 5%, prices 9%, currencies –1%). In addition to increased demand, in particular from the electronics and pharmaceutical industries, higher sales prices for basic products were a major factor driving this significant sales growth.
Our income from operations improved considerably compared with the previous year. Higher margins, especially for ammonia and urea, as well as our strict cost discipline had a positive influence on earnings growth.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, we increased our annual capacity for sodium methylate production by 60,000 metric tons with the startup of a new plant in Guaratinguetá, Brazil. Furthermore, we started operations at a new oleum and sulfur plant in Antwerp, Belgium, raising annual capacity at this site to 420,000 metric tons.
We foresee a moderately positive business environment in 2012 and therefore expect many business areas to post higher sales volumes. We aim to significantly increase our sales. As part of the divestiture of our fertilizer business, we plan to sell three nitric acid plants in 2012; this, together with lower margins for some basic products, will likely result in a decrease in earnings.