- Sales fall primarily as a result of lower volumes
- Earnings decline due to weaker margins
- Outlook 2013: sales higher than in previous year; earnings improvement supported by strict cost management and measures to increase efficiency
Care Chemicals – Sales by region
(Location of customer)
Sales to third parties in the Care Chemicals division decreased by €217 million to €4,957 million compared with the previous year. Lower sales volumes were primarily responsible for this decline. The stronger U.S. dollar only partly offset these lower volumes (volumes –6%, prices –1%, currencies 3%).
A difficult market environment and high uncertainty on the market dampened demand. Continuing high raw material prices for crude-oil-based products also contributed to cautious buying behavior and our customers’ tendency to keep inventory levels low. Volumes declined particularly in standard products and in the formulation technologies business area. By contrast, we were able to further expand our specialties business with major customers. In the hygiene business area, we raised sales volumes after successfully expanding capacity in Freeport, Texas, and Antwerp, Belgium. Prices declined for laurics-based standard products. This resulted from both the difficult market environment and from passing on falling raw material costs. In our remaining portfolio, however, we were able to raise prices. Our capacity utilization decreased because of lower overall demand.
Despite significantly lower special charges for the Cognis integration compared with 2011, income from operations did not match the level of the previous year. This was mostly due to falling margins as a result of the difficult market environment.
In 2013, we strive to increase sales in all business areas. We want to improve earnings through strict cost management and measures to increase efficiency.