- Sales below previous year’s level; lower sales volumes almost fully offset by positive currency effects
- Earnings decline, due especially to weaker business environment for polyamide precursors
- Outlook 2013: sales increase; significant earnings improvement despite higher costs
Performance Polymers – Sales by region (Location of customer)Enlarge image
At €5,110 million, sales to third parties were €28 million below the level of the previous year (volumes –5%, prices –1%, portfolio 1%, currencies 4%). Positive currency effects almost fully compensated for lower sales volumes. While we raised prices in some specialties thanks to good demand, we were unable to implement extensive price increases for polyamide precursors despite higher raw material costs.
Competition intensified in the textile industry, especially due to the startup of new production facilities for polyamide precursors in China. Volumes therefore declined in this business area. By contrast, our business with polymers for extrusion applications developed very successfully. The continuing weakness of the private construction sector, especially in southern Europe, impaired sales volumes for foams, which stagnated overall. In North America and Asia, we posted high demand from the automotive industry for our engineering plastics. Demand slowed in Europe in the second half of the year.
Income from operations did not match the level of 2011. This decline was particularly due to the weaker business environment for polyamide precursors and the resulting lower margins.
In 2012, we purchased Mazzaferro’s polyamide polymer business. By producing locally in Brazil, we are expanding our position in engineering plastics and polyamide polymers in South America. With the acquisition of PET foam technology from B.C. Foam S.p.A. in Italy, we have broadened our range of wind power applications and strengthened our expertise for the automotive, aviation and shipbuilding industry.
For 2013, we expect higher sales than in the previous year. Reinforcing our market position and opening up further applications will contribute to increasing sales. In order to continue our profitable growth strategy in the long term, we will increase spending on research and development and restructure our Styropor® business. Despite these higher costs, we aim for a significant improvement in income from operations.