Lanxess ‘Confident’ About 2010 Following Strong Q4
After finishing the 2009 financial year on a high note in the last quarter, specialty chemicals group Lanxess has expressed confidence for the 2010 year. This sense of optimism, it says, is supported by the company’s development within the Asia/Pacific and further boosted by savings generated from its “Challenge09-12” package of measures. “We therefore expect a significant year-on-year improvement in earnings, even if there is currently no sign of a self-sustaining upswing,” said Axel C. Heitmann, chairman of the Lanxess AG Board of Management.
The company was, as expected, hit hard by the global downturn in 2009. Group sales fell by 23.1 per cent year-on-year to 5,057 million euros due to weak global demand. EBITDA pre exceptionals, at 465 million euros, came in at the upper end of the adjusted target corridor of 450 to 470 million euros. Lanxess posted EBITDA pre exceptionals of 722 million euros in 2008. The EBITDA margin pre exceptionals for the full year was 9.2 per cent compared to 11.0 per cent in 2008. Net income amounted to 40 million euros in comparison to 183 million euros in 2008. On the back of its “Challenge09-12”, the company reduced costs by some 170 million euros during the year. “Our results in the crisis year show that we passed the stress test,” Heitmann observed.
The fourth quarter of 2009 “ran counter to the usual seasonal trend at Lanxess”, the company reported. In the final weeks of the year, the rubber business in particular was buoyed by positive development in Asia and strong demand for winter tyres in Europe and North America. Overall the company recorded fourth-quarter sales of 1,392 million euros, slightly above the third-quarter figure of 1,373 million euros. Business declined by 4.8 per cent compared with the final quarter of 2008. EBITDA pre exceptionals in the fourth quarter of 2009 amounted to 144 million euros – slightly ahead of the third quarter and well above the 87 million euros achieved in the fourth quarter of 2008, which was dominated by the effects of the financial crisis. Net income for the quarter was 14 million euros compared to 23 million euros in the third quarter of 2009 and a 32 million euro loss in the prior-year period.
“The fourth quarter of 2009 and our good start to the new year give us grounds for confidence,” Heitmann concluded.