- Sales rise as a result of positive currency effects
- Considerable earnings growth thanks to sharply decreased fixed costs
- Outlook 2013: sales improvement targeted; earnings above previous year’s level
Paper Chemicals – Sales by region
(Location of customer)
We increased sales to third parties in the Paper Chemicals division by €11 million to €1,634 million in 2012. After portfolio optimization and restructuring measures in Europe and North America, overall sales volumes were slightly down year-on-year. Nevertheless, positive currency effects more than compensated for negative volumes development and declining prices (volumes –2%, prices –1%, currencies 4%).
We achieved a significant sales increase in VFA-based cationic polymers, a product line that allows paper manufacturers to improve the efficiency of their paper machines and simultaneously reduce fiber and energy costs.
Due to strict cost management as well as to restructuring measures, we substantially reduced fixed costs compared with the previous year. With margins stable, we were able to considerably improve income from operations.
We anticipate a difficult economic environment for the paper industry in 2013, as well. Electronic media will continue to displace printed media and paper, making further consolidations necessary in the paper industry. However, we expect continued stable market growth for paper packaging materials. Here, we have observed a trend toward paper packaging based on biodegradable raw materials. We have therefore established a unit which will primarily offer biodegradable barrier coatings. There are good growth opportunities in the Asian market, where we will continue to promote the expansion of our regional production network. We aim to increase sales in 2013. The startup of several production plants will lead to higher fixed costs. Nevertheless, we strive to improve earnings by growing significantly faster than the market, with margins remaining stable overall.