- Sales significantly below previous year’s level
- Lower volumes and prices in addition to negative currency effects largely responsible for sales decline
- Considerable rise in earnings due to significantly better margins for steam cracker products in North America
Petrochemicals – Sales by region (Location of customer)Enlarge image
In the Petrochemicals division, sales to third parties decreased by €475 million to €7,785 million in 2013. Aside from negative currency effects, this decline was due to lower volumes and prices (volumes –2%, prices –2%, currencies –2%).
Sales in Europe did not match the previous year’s level, mostly on account of lower volumes. The scheduled shutdown of the steam cracker in Antwerp, Belgium, significantly contributed to this development. Reduced prices were further detrimental to sales development in the region. In North America, the lower price level in some product lines and the weaker U.S. dollar led to a slight decline in sales. By contrast, sales in Asia remained stable despite a difficult market environment.
We observed pressure on margins, mainly in the acrylates and solvents business in Asia. This was particularly attributable to additional capacities and the resulting improvement in product availability in the region. Nevertheless, overall income from operations before special items considerably exceeded the level of 2012. We were able to more than compensate for lower margins in some product lines, particularly through significantly improved margins for steam cracker products in North America.
In Nanjing, China, we began construction on an acrylic acid plant in 2013 with an intended capacity of 160,000 metric tons per year. In Port Arthur, Texas, we continued to increase our feed flexibility in order to take even better advantage of low gas prices in the United States.