ALTANA AG was able to increase sales and operating earnings over the first six months of the current business year. Compared to the strong first half of 2011, ALTANA's sales rose by 5%, up from €840.3 million to €886.4 million. Adjusted for positive exchange rate as well as acquisition effects, sales came close to the prior-year level. Slightly declining volumes were offset by price increases and product-mix effects.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved by 4% to €179.6 million, compared to €172.9 million in the prior-year period. At 20.3%, the EBITDA margin remained at a similarly high level as in the first six months of 2011 (20.6%). At €127.1 million, earnings before taxes (EBT) also remained at the healthy prior-year level (€127.0 million).
The BYK Additives & Instruments division increased sales by 4% to €326.0 million in the first six months of 2012, up from €314.4 million in the prior-year period. The ECKART Effect Pigments division recorded a decline in sales by 3%, with sales of €179.1 million compared to prior-year revenues of €184.6 million. Sales of the ELANTAS Electrical Insulation division rose by 4% to €210.7 million up from €203.3 million in the first half of 2011. With a jump in sales of 24%, primarily due to acquisitions, sales in the ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants division increased significantly. The division's sales came in at €170.6 million, following €138.0 million in the prior year.
The regional sales development within the ALTANA Group was rather heterogeneous. Sales in North and South America significantly increased by 11% compared to the first six months of 2011. This was attributable to the dynamic regional rise in demand as well as to positive exchange rate effects. The increase in sales of 4% in Europe resulted from acquisition effects, while the economic environment increasingly burdened the development of the company's business. In Asia, the hitherto sluggish development of demand led to a purely exchange-rate driven increase in sales of 3%.
"ALTANA is looking back on quite a successful first half of 2012. Despite the difficult overall economic conditions, we were able to further increase sales and EBITDA compared to the strong prior-year figures," stated Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber, CEO of ALTANA AG. "Based on our clear focus on innovative specialties and our flexible business model, we are confident that we remain able to operate successfully even under ongoing uncertain and volatile market conditions."
As a result of the increased global economic risks, ALTANA anticipates a further moderation of demand for the second half of the current business year. Nevertheless, compared to the previous year, the company currently expects a moderate growth in sales for 2012 as a whole. Consequently, the EBITDA margin should remain within the target range of 18% to 20% in 2012.