Performance Materials

  • Sales of €7,654 million, down 1% from the previous year due to currency effects and lower volumes
  • Considerable year-on-year decrease in EBIT before special items, mainly as a result of lower margins

At €7,654 million, sales to third parties in the Performance Materials division in 2018 were €52 million below the prior-year level. Price increases due to significantly higher raw materials prices, parti- cularly in the first half of 2018, were unable to completely offset the negative currency effects in all regions and business areas, as well as slightly lower volumes. Sales volumes declined, primarily as a result of weaker demand from the construction and consumer goods industries.

Sales to the automotive industry rose slightly due to higher prices, in particular for engineering plastics in Asia and Europe. Volumes declined slightly overall. While higher volumes contributed to sales growth in South America, demand in Europe, Asia and North America remained below the prior-year level, especially for polyurethane systems.

Sales in the consumer goods industry decreased slightly. As well as currency effects, this was mainly attributable to lower demand for polyurethane systems, particularly in Europe. This could not be completely offset by higher volumes in our engineering plastics and specialty businesses and higher prices.

Sales to the construction industry declined slightly due to lower volumes and currency effects. Although we achieved higher sales prices overall in the polyurethane systems business, demand was down from the prior-year level, especially in Europe. Scheduled plant turnarounds in the first half of 2018 also reduced sales volumes in the styrene foams business.

Performance Materials – Factors influencing sales
Functional Materials & Solutions – Performance Materials – Factors influencing sales (bar chart)
Performance Materials – Sales by region

Location of customer

Functional Materials & Solutions – Performance Materials – Sales by region (pie chart)

EBIT before special items was considerably below the prior-year level. This was mainly attributable to lower margins. The increase in raw materials prices could only be partly offset by higher sales prices. Fixed costs rose slightly. Higher expenses, especially from the startup of new plants for thermoplastic polyurethanes, Ultraform® and Ultrason®, were partly offset by insurance refunds, mainly for production outages.