Essen, Germany – Sales in the first quarter of 2023 were down to €4.0bn at Evonik, a fall of 11% from the €4.5bn achieved in the 2022 quarter. EBITDA fell by 44%, from €735m to €409m. It expects adjusted EBITDA for the full year will be at the lower end of its forecast range of €2.1bn to €2.4bn.
Weak demand and low economic activity impacted the company’s results, with destocking activities in the first few weeks of the year having an effect on sales. Volumes fell by 14%, although higher prices offset the drop to some extent.
In the smart materials division, revenue was down by 7% to €1.2bn in the light of a reduction in sales volumes. Higher raw material costs led to an increase in selling prices, while adjusted EBITDA fell by 23% to €164m.
Revenue in the speciality additives division, which includes additives for polyurethane foams, fell by 12% to €921m as a result in the decline in volumes. Increased selling prices enabled higher raw material and energy costs to be passed on. EBITDA for the division was down 33%, to €168m.
The company is also continuing with the previously announced changes to its portfolio. The first step of its divestment of the performance materials division, the sale of its Luelsdorf site south of Cologne, was completed in the quarter.
“The start to the year was even more challenging than we feared,” said Christian Kullmann, chairman of the company’s executive board. “However, we saw signs of a business recovery during the course of the first quarter. Both February and March were better than the preceding month in terms of operating profit.”