Clariant sees higher margins, income ahead, hikes dividend

ZURICH Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:13am EST

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ZURICH Feb 14 (Reuters) - Swiss specialty chemicals firms Clariant on Thursday posted 2012 net income of 238 million Swiss francs and said it would hike its dividend by 10 percent as it flagged higher future margins and profits on its scaled down business.

Clariant, which last year gave shareholders their first dividend in five years, has pared down its company during the last year, selling off three business units and earmarking a fourth for disposal.

In December it sold its textile chemicals, paper speciality chemicals and emulsions units to U.S. private equity firm SK Capital for 502 million Swiss francs as part of its effort to retreat from low-margin cyclical businesses.

Its leather services, detergents and intermediates businesses are also on the block. (Reporting by Martin de Sa'Pinto)

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