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Arkema strikes more optimistic tone for 2010

May 11/2010

PARIS (Reuters) -- French specialty chemicals maker Arkema struck a more optimistic tone for its outlook this year as the first quarter showed a significant improvement against the year-ago when the recession fully struck.


Arkema said on Tuesday its core earnings or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were close to the level pre-crisis levels, partly thanks to fixed cost cuts and growth in Asia, but that volumes were still lower.


The more favourable market conditions seen in the first quarter carried on into the second quarter, Arkema said, leading it to forecast core earnings in the second quarter to be better than in the first quarter. At the earnings presentation in March, Arkema said it targeted a significant improvement but remained cautious on making any market assumptions after the credit crisis dented demand from clients such as the car and building industries.


Arkema swung to a first-quarter net profit of 40 million euros against a loss of 35 million. EBITDA surged to 137 million euros from 57 million euros on sales up nearly 20 percent at 1.308 billion. Volumes in the quarter increased more than a fifth, supported by strong demand in Asia, signs of a recovery in North America, and expanding new energy markets.


For growth, Arkema's focus remained on Asia, the development of high performance polymers and bolt-on acquisitions.

Arkema strikes more optimistic tone for 2010

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