- Sales rise thanks mainly to higher sales prices and stronger U.S. dollar
- Earnings improvement due in part to measures to reduce fixed costs
- Outlook 2013: Sales above prior year’s level, due in part to higher sales volumes; earnings increase owing to further price differentiation and improvement in efficiency
Performance Chemicals – Sales by region (Location of customer)Enlarge image
Compared with 2011, we increased sales to third parties in the Performance Chemicals division by €115 million to €3,644 million. This was largely due to higher sales prices and the stronger U.S. dollar (volumes –4%, prices 3%, currencies 4%).
The slight recovery in demand we had expected did not materialize, which was a result of lower growth rates in the United States and China in addition to the weaker macroeconomic environment in Europe, which particularly impaired our business with plastic additives. Only in the oilfield and mining chemicals business area were we able to achieve considerably higher sales volumes.
Income from operations grew significantly. This was mostly due to higher prices, the stronger U.S. dollar and our measures to reduce fixed costs. Insurance payments for damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011 also boosted our earnings development.
In our plastic additives business, we want to get even closer to our customers in fast-growing regions; to this end, we began construction of a production plant for antioxidants in Singapore. We strengthened our business with water treatment chemicals through the integration of inge watertechnologies AG and the creation of a customer-focused platform.
In 2013, we expect sales and volumes to rise, thanks in part to the startup of new production facilities – such as plants for polyacrylamide in Nanjing, China, or for customer-specific antioxidant formulations in Bahrain. We anticipate growth in our customer industries, particularly in the automotive, oilfield, mining and water treatment sectors. We aim to improve earnings through further price differentiation and measures to improve efficiency.