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Performance polymers reported strong rise in Q1 2010

May 19/2010

(Plasteurope) -- French chemical producer Arkema  said it was “pleased” with the performance of its Industrial Chemicals and Performance Polymer business segments in the first quarter of 2010. The two segments, which together account for 80% of sales, each generated an EBITDA margin of 14.5%. The Vinyls segment continued to lag behind, with a negative margin of 3%. Altogether, turnover of the French company rose by nearly 20% to EUR 1.3 bn, although volumes were still below pre-crisis levels. EBITDA more than doubled to EUR 137m from EUR 57m.


Sales of Performance Products, including PA and PDVF, rose by 15% to EUR 372m. This was thanks largely to a rebound in volumes on the back of increased demand from the automotive sector and the Asian market. Arkema pointed also to a “growing contribution” of products targeting new industries, including solar photovoltaics. The segment’s EBITDA more than tripled to EUR 54m from EUR 17m, as unit margins held up well against higher raw materials costs.


By contrast, sales of the Vinyls segment rose by 5.4% to EUR 271m. The EBITDA loss widened to EUR 8m from EUR 2m a year earlier, but the company noted that this was an improvement against the fourth quarter of 2009, when the loss stood at EUR 18m. The negative price effect “corresponds essentially” to the halving of caustic soda prices against the 2009 quarter, Arkema added.


Industrial Chemicals including PMMA increased its sales by 30% to EUR 661m, with nearly half the improvement due to consolidation of acrylics assets acquired from Dow Chemical. EBITDA improved by nearly 32% to EUR 96m, and unit margins for acrylic acid solidified against Q4 2009 despite higher propylene costs.

Performance polymers reported strong rise in Q1 2010

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