Dispersions & Pigments
- At €3,869 million, sales match level of 2013
- Slight earnings improvement, mainly through higher volumes and reduced fixed costs
At €3,869 million, sales to third parties in the Dispersions & Pigments division matched the level of the previous year despite negative currency effects. We were able to slightly increase our sales volumes, although the market cooled off in the second half of the year (volumes 3%, prices −1%, currencies −2%).
Sales in the dispersions business were at the prior-year level. Sales volumes rose particularly in Asia and South America, and also through the startup of new plants in the fourth quarter of 2014. In the pigments business, volumes remained stable despite adjustments to the product portfolio. We were able to increase our sales of resins in an intensely competitive environment. Growth impetus was provided by Europe and Asia. We achieved a slight increase in sales volumes in the additives business. The higher volumes helped offset intense pressure on prices and negative currency effects.
We were able to slightly improve income from operations before special items compared with 2013. This was largely owing to higher volumes and reduced fixed costs, especially as a result of restructuring measures in the pigments business. Special charges were substantially below the level of the previous year, and were mostly related to restructuring measures.
In 2014, we expanded our capacities in, for example, the dispersions business area by constructing new plants in Dahej, India, and Freeport, Texas, which will contribute to our future growth in these regions.