The company reported a very good year end, driving what Arkema termed an excellent full-year performance for 2017 and demonstrating the rationale of the Group’s strategy.
The company reported €8,326 million in sales, up 10.5% on 2016, with 8.9% organic growth. EBITDA was up 17% to €1,391 million, led by strong growth for all three of the Group’s divisions. Arkema reported EBITDA margin at 16.7% (15.8% in 2016), with adjusted net income up 42% to €592 million, representing €7.82 per share (€5.56 per share in 2016).
Arkema cited strong cash generation, with €565 million in free cash flow and a significant reduction in net debt to €1,056 million (versus €1,482 million at Dec. 31, 2016), or 0.8 times 2017 EBITDA. The company proposed a dividend increase from €2.05 to €2.30 per share.
“Our very good performance in 2017 reflects the quality of our underlying strategy and the strength of the growth projects for our specialty businesses,” said Thierry Le Hénaff, chairman and CEO. “We largely exceeded the medium-term financial targets we set ourselves in 2014, with close to €1.4 billion in EBITDA, excellent cash generation and a low level of debt.
“The Group is reaping the benefits of its successful innovations for advanced materials meeting our customers’ high demand for lighter materials, new energies, 3D printing and consumer goods as demonstrated by our ranking, for the seventh consecutive year, in the Top 100 Global Innovators by Clarivate Analytics,” he added.
Against this backdrop, the Group will benefit from its strong innovation drive in advanced materials, from Bostik’s growth with the integration of XL Brands and from a market environment expected to remain globally robust for its intermediate chemical businesses. It will continue to implement its major manufacturing projects, as presented during its Capital Markets Day, for thiochemicals, specialty polyamides, fluoropolymers and Sartomer.
Lastly, the Group will continue its actions to pass on in its selling prices the continuous rises in raw materials costs as well as the rollout of its operational excellence initiatives to partly offset inflation on its fixed costs.
Supported by a good start of the year and this strong internal momentum and despite the euro’s current strength, Arkema is confident in its ability to increase its EBITDA in 2018 compared to the excellent performance achieved in 2017.