In the first six months of 2008, Cognis increased the net sales of its core businesses by 7 percent to €1.533 billion compared with the same period in 2007. On an organic basis, sales grew by 12 percent. All three strategic business units that focus on the innovation-driven wellness and sustainability markets – Care Chemicals, Nutrition & Health and Functional Products – contributed to the sales growth. The company also benefited from various initiatives to optimize its cost structures and further improve its efficiency, and was able to partially compensate its increased raw material costs by increasing its prices.
The operating result of the core businesses (adjusted EBITDA) was €176 million (down 5.1 percent) due to a massive rise in raw material, transportation and energy costs as well as unfavorable exchange rates. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of core businesses were down €5 million to €103 million due to the increase in operating costs.
“In spite of the tough general market conditions, all our core business areas strengthened their position and recorded increased sales,” said CEO Antonio Trius. “Our successful efforts to optimize our processing and manufacturing costs, and more especially the sale of our Pulcra and Oleochemicals businesses, represent major steps forward for Cognis in terms of its strategic direction and prospects for further profitable growth.
“Cognis continues to improve its efficiency, and sees the necessity to further increase its prices in the light of high raw material costs and the weak U.S. dollar,” said Mr. Trius. “Concentrating on highly innovative, natural-based solutions for markets driven by the global wellness and sustainability trends will help us to add further value to our company in 2008.”
In July, Cognis announced the sale of its 50-percent stake in the Cognis Oleochemicals joint venture and its wholly owned subsidiary Pulcra Chemicals. These transactions are expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2008.