Essen, Germany - Evonik Industries AG's Chemicals business, which includes the company's Evonik Goldschmidt polyurethane additives unit, has recorded a 22 percent drop in sales to Euro 4560 million ($6451 million) for the first six months of 2009 (H1), compared to the same period last year.
Earnings in the unit decreased 33 percent to Euro 628 million, compared to the first half of 2008 due to lower volumes caused by plummeting demand, the company said. The decline in raw material costs and successful attempts to cut costs did however have a positive effect, Evonik commented. Overall, the company said that demand in the Chemicals business picked up in the second quarter following a weak start to the year.
Evonik Group sales fell by 21 percent to Euro 6281 million, compared to H1 2008, while group earnings declined 34 percent to Euro 839 million, "as a result of one-off operating expenses, especially impairment losses on inventories in the Chemicals and Energy Business Areas," the company said.
"Although a slight improvement has been seen in recent months, there is not yet any sign of a fundamental upturn," commented Klaus Engel, chairman of Evonik Industries AG. "There has been a slight recovery in some areas of our chemicals business in the past few months compared with the extremely weak first quarter but it is still at a very low level," he added.
Engel said the company is driving forward its "On Track" efficiency improvement programme, including systematic reorganisation of administrative structures, active portfolio management and tough cost cutting. Evonik is planning to make savings of Euro 300 million in 2009. (RD)