Wesel, Germany -- Speciality chemicals group Altana AG, which owns polyurethane chemicals supplier BYK Additives and Instruments, had sales of Euro 1342 million in the 2008, a 3-percent drop from the prior year.
German group Altana said the worldwide economic crisis, particularly in the fourth quarter, caused a sales drop in all regions compared to 2007, but that its earnings (EBITDA) margin of 18.1 percent was within its medium-term target of 18 percent to 20 percent.
Its BYK Additives & Instruments division had sales of €450 million in 2008, a slight increase on the Euro 445 million sales in 2007.
But Altana pointed out that, in the fourth quarter of 2008, sales declined group-wide by 16 percent to Euro 274 million, compared to Q4 2007, adding that all divisions and regions were affected.
Despite rapid measures to reduce costs and increase efficiency, Q4 EBITDA was only Euro 30 million (Euro 56 million in Q4 2007).
The German chemicals group said orders have been slow in the first weeks of the new business year, and it therefore expects sales for Q1 2009 to be significantly lower than in Q1 2008.
"Despite our diversified portfolio" and the related company robustness, Altana has not been untouched by the economic crisis, which is affecting almost all sectors of the economy and regions, and "therefore also our customers," said Dr Matthias Wolfgruber, ceo of Altana AG, in the company's 5 Feb results announcement,
"For 2009, we expect a very difficult market environment, for which we have prepared ourselves with a set of measures to reduce costs and to further increase efficiency. However, our core competences and key success factors - innovation as well as service and customer orientation - will not be neglected," Wolfgruber added.
Wolfgruber added that Altana's global orientation and clear strategic speciality chemicals focus is the basis for further strengthening and development of he company, "especially in a crisis."