46483 Wesel, Germany
Tel: +49 281 670-8
Fax: +49 281 670-10999
Sales: $330 million in printing ink and graphic arts coatings sales (Ink World estimate); €2.247 billion overall.
Major Products: Metallic inks and pigments; UV and water-based inks and coatings.
Key Personnel: Martin Babilas, CEO; Stefan Genten, member of the Management Board; Dr. Christoph Schlünken, member of the Management Board; Dr. Stephan Glander, president Division BYK, chairman of the Management Board BYK-Chemie GmbH; Dr. Wolfgang Schütt, president Division ECKART, chairman of the Management Board ECKART GmbH; Dr. Guido Forstbach, president Division ELANTAS, chairman of the Management Board ELANTAS GmbH; Thorsten Kröller, president Division ACTEGA, chairman of the Management Board ACTEGA GmbH.
Number of Employees: 6,428 as of Dec. 31, 2018.
Comments: A global leader in specialty chemicals, the ALTANA Group consists of four divisions: BYK Additives & Instruments, ECKART Effect Pigments, ELANTAS Electrical Insulation and ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants. ECKART Effect Pigments and ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants are leaders in their fields within the graphic arts and ink segments.
In its 2018 fiscal year, ALTANA remained on the growth path in a difficult market environment, as sales rose by 3% to €2,307 million. Adjusted for acquisition and exchange-rate effects, sales increased by 4%.
Dr. Sebastian Heindrichs, communications manager for ALTANA, noted that the 2018 fiscal year was characterized by varying dynamics.
“In the first half of the year, ALTANA continued its dynamic growth, which was accompanied by an appealing margin development despite rising raw materials prices,” Dr. Heindrichs observed. “But in the second half of the year, the demand in important user markets, including the automotive industry, was significantly more subdued. At the same time, accelerated raw materials price increases led to high margin pressure. Due to declining contribution margins, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were down by 8% from the high level of the previous year to €431 million. At 18.7%, the EBITDA margin reached the target range of 18% to 20% again in 2018.
In 2018, BYK, the largest ALTANA division, increased its sales by 3% to €1,066 million. At ECKART, sales decreased by 1% to €383 million. Adjusted for acquisition and exchange-rate effects, sales increased by 1%. With sales up by 4%, the ELANTAS division reached sales of €507 million. At ACTEGA, sales grew by 3% to €353 million. Adjusted for acquisition and exchange-rate effects, the sales growth was 6%.
In 2018, ALTANA again steadily expanded its R&D activities in all divisions. The company’s activities were characterized by initiatives in the field of application-oriented research, the marketing of innovative products, and the development of new technologies. In total, R&D expenditures increased by 8% to €154 million in 2018. Also, in 2018, ALTANA made high-level investments in property, plant and equipment by expanding its BYK capacities in the additives segment in Gonzales, USA, and in Shanghai, China and by expanding its ACTEGA DS site in Bremen.
“We also made substantial investments that decisively enables the Israeli company Landa Digital Printing to take further steps on the way to marketing its innovative and revolutionary digital printing solutions,” Dr. Heindrichs said. “The proceeds from the Landa Digital Printing financing will be used for expansion of the company’s infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities, as well as for ongoing R&D and market development. With our participation in Velox, another startup in the digital printing sector, we also essentially strengthened our network in the field of promising technologies.”
In personnel news, at the end of September 2018, ALTANA named Thorsten Kröller to assume the leadership of the ACTEGA Division as of March 1, 2019. Kröller succeeded Dr. Roland Peter, who retired. At the same time, Kröller joined ALTANA’s Executive Management Team.
“Dr. Roland Peter looks back on a successful management career in our organization spanning over 20 years. After many years as the Head of BYK, he has been driving the realignment of ACTEGA since 2012. We would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his contributions to ALTANA and wish him all the best for the future,” said ALTANA CEO Martin Babilas. “In Thorsten Kröller, we have found the ideal successor for Dr. Roland Peter within our own ranks. Through his successful efforts at BYK, Thorsten Kröller significantly expanded the Business Line Plastics Additives, notably through the successful integration of targeted acquisitions. We are convinced that together with our employees, he will create a successful, sustainable future for ACTEGA.”
ALTANA places major emphasis on sustainability, and made important strides in this regard.
“To leverage the opportunities resulting from sustainability for ALTANA, in 2018 we decisively strengthened the sustainability management at our sites by establishing systematic sustainability criteria in relevant decision-making processes and with the help of many lighthouse projects around the globe,” Dr. Heindrichs said. “As a result, sustainability is no longer only an ambitious goal for us, but a fixed component of our business and working life. The importance of sustainability in our corporate action is also illustrated by the fact that as a member of the UN Global Compact we actively support the objectives of this important initiative for company management.”
ALTANA’s outlook for 2019 is influenced by a macroeconomic environment characterized by ongoing uncertainty, and Dr. Heindrichs pointed out that the geopolitical framework conditions and trade disputes have dampened consumption and investment expectations in many countries.
“Our EBITDA margin should remain approximately on the level of the previous year and therefore within the strategic target range between 18% and 20%,” he concluded. “The 2019 fiscal year is expected to remain challenging. ALTANA anticipates a weaker global economic performance. Sales volumes are thus expected to develop moderately. However, sales and earnings development can be influenced by hard-to-predict exchange rates changes and further global economic development.”