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Arkema showed highest-ever profit in 2011 in restructuring

March 20/2012

(plasteurope) -- For French chemicals and plastics producer Arkema, 2011 was a "new milestone" in its history, CEO Thierry Le Henaff said in presenting annual results. "The financial performance was excellent, and the groups transformation has been actively pursued," he added. The CEO credited structural improvements achieved over the past several years for pushing EBITDA to just over EUR 1 bn "twice the earnings result of 2007 in a similar macroeconomic environment."

Arkema CEO Thierry Le Henaff said the group's 2011 results were "excellent" Group figures for 2011 show EBITDA up 28% year-on-year to EUR 1.03 bn on the back of a 21% sales rise to EUR 5.9 bn. Adjusted for the Vinyl Products activities spun off late last year in preparation for a sale to the Swiss family-run Klesch group.

Sales of the Industrial Chemicals segment, which includes the acrylics business, rose by 24% to EUR 3.9 bn, thanks in part to significant price increases to offset higher raw materials costs. The segments EBITDA improved by 28% to EUR 732m and the EBITDA margin widened to 18.6% from 18%. Performance Products, including the polyamide activities and the PVDF fluoropolymers business, saw sales expand by 16% to EUR 1.95 bn. The segments EBITDA increased by more than 30% to EUR 339m and lifted its earnings margin to 17.4% from 15.5% in 2010.

Arkemas sales figures pertain solely to continuing operations and thus exclude the performance of Vinyl Products. The sales improvement is attributed in particular to the specialty coatings resins activities acquired from parent Total  and consolidated from July 2011 as well as to start-ups in Asia. The resins acquisition is also credited with contributing to the earnings upturn, along with the start-up of the Kynar PVDF plant in Changsu / China .

Separately held Vinyl Products saw EBITDA decrease by 24% in 2011, due to a "challenging European construction market with significant destocking by customers at years end." Fourth-quarter earnings were diminished by strikes at the LyondellBasell refinery in Berre, triggered by the announcement that the unit would close, and at Arkemas Vinyls sites in protest of the divestment plan. The group said it was able to increase prices for caustic soda and PVC, "without fully offsetting the rise in ethylene and energy costs."
Author:Anna Larionova
Category:General News
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