In the first six months of 2018, the ALTANA Group achieved earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of €252 million. On account of significantly higher raw material prices, the result is 4% below the previous year’s figure despite the sales price increases that were implemented. But the EBITDA margin, at 21.0%, remained above the target range of 18% to 20%.
“In the first half-year of 2018, ALTANA remained on the growth path. Thanks to the dynamic demand for our innovative products, we were able to successfully master the challenges we faced on the raw material and currency markets,” said Martin Babilas, the CEO of ALTANA AG. “Our aim is to continue to grow organically and to achieve sustained profitability in the future too due to acquisitions.”
ALTANA confirms its forecast for the whole year. Sales are expected to grow in operating terms by between 2% and 5%. Considerably higher material costs resulting from raw material price increases are expected to lead to slightly lower profitability. As a result, the EBITDA margin is expected to be closer to the long-term target range of 18% to 20%.
The four ALTANA divisions, BYK, ECKART, ELANTAS, and ACTEGA, grew in the first half of 2018. The largest division, BYK, increased its nominal sales by 4% and in operating terms by 6% to €561 million. Sales were driven in particular by the strong demand in China for the solutions of the additives specialist as well as by impetus from the PolyAd companies acquired last year.
The ECKART division’s sales amounted to €203 million, with nominal sales 1% and in operating terms 5% higher than in the same period of the previous year. The supplier of electrical insulating materials, ELANTAS, generated the strongest sales growth, both in nominal and operating terms rising by 7% to €260 million.
Due to the stronger demand for solutions for the packaging industry, ACTEGA’s sales rose by 4% in operating terms to €176 million; in nominal terms, sales remained at the prior year’s level owing to detrimental exchange-rate changes.
In the first six months of 2018, all of the regions ALTANA is active in contributed to the operating sales growth. The ALTANA Group’s sustainable solutions were in particularly strong demand in Asia (adjusted for currency as well as acquisition effects, sales increased by 8% to €396 million). China once again demonstrated strong momentum, with operating sales growth of 12% to €221 million.
In Europe, sales increased by 4% in operating terms to €466 million, with €145 million generated in Germany (plus 1%). At €318 million, sales in North and South America lagged slightly behind the previous year’s level. In operating terms, sales grew by 5%, and the company’s largest single market, the US, boosted its operating sales growth by 4% to €223 million.