- Sales up by €201 million to €6,747 million through positive currency effects
- Considerable earnings growth due to higher margins
We increased sales to third parties by €201 million to €6,747 million in the Performance Materials division in 2015 (volumes 0%, prices –4%, portfolio 0%, currencies 7%). This was largely the result of positive currency effects in North America and Asia. While volumes shrank in South America and Asia, we achieved higher volumes in Europe and North America. Sales prices fell as a consequence of lower raw material prices.
We considerably increased sales to the automotive industry thanks to significantly higher demand in Europe, Asia and North America. With currency effects positive overall, we were able to raise sales volumes, particularly in the businesses with engineering plastics, polyurethane (PU) systems, and the special elastomer Cellasto®.
Our business with the consumer goods industry also developed well, despite lower volumes in Asia and South America. This was essentially thanks to volumes growth for polyurethane systems in Europe and North America as well as for thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) and biopolymers.
Sales to the construction industry declined, however, due primarily to the divestiture of our white expandable polystyrene (EPS) business in North and South America. Volumes rose in the polyurethane systems business despite a decrease in Asia.
We achieved considerably higher income from operations before special items. This was predominantly because of higher margins resulting from lower raw material prices as well as the positive development of our high-margin specialties businesses.
In 2015, we expanded our specialties business, especially Cellasto®, through investments at the site in Shanghai, China. Moreover, we started operations at a new compounding plant for Ultramid® and Ultradur® at the site in Yesan, South Korea, and at a new polyurethane system house in Geismar, Louisiana. With the acquisition of Taiwan Sheen Soon Co. Ltd. completed in 2015, we have expanded our portfolio of thermoplastic polyurethanes.