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Clariant has announced sales of CHF1.870bn in the second quarter 2011, compared to CHF1.894bn in the previous year. This includes Süd-Chemie (SC) sales of CHF216M for May and June. In local currencies, sales growth amounted to 14%. Due to the massive appreciation of the Swiss franc against most major currencies, sales were 1% lower in Swiss francs y-on-y.
The softening demand compared to the previous year and the unusually high comparable basis of the second quarter 2010 is reflected in a 5% decrease in volumes. Local currency sales saw double-digit growth in the Business Units Additives, Industrial & Consumer Specialties and Oil & Mining Services. At the regional level, a mixed performance was achieved with double-digit sales growth in local currencies in Asia, Europe, North America and Middle East and Africa but slightly lower sales growth in Latin America.
Raw material costs increased by 14% compared to the previous-year period. A strict focus on margin management led to an improvement in sales prices of 7%, thereby fully compensating for the increased raw material costs.
The second quarter was marked by weakness in demand in April and rather solid demand in the rest of the quarter, although first signs of a slowdown in demand have been observed in some businesses.
Clariant expects a more difficult but solid business environment in H2 2011, characterised by a softening demand. Exchange rates for the major currencies are expected to remain volatile. Commodity prices look set to continue to rise in the second half-year 2011. For 2011, Clariant expects sales in the range of CHF7.8-8.0bn and an EBITDA margin before exceptional items of 13.5% to 14.5%.