(Adds comments on prices, outlook)
ZURICH Feb 19 Swiss speciality chemicals maker
Clariant said its fourth-quarter net profit was
virtually unchanged from a year earlier, held back by currency
swings and higher spending.
The Basel-based company reported on Wednesday a net profit
of 85 million Swiss francs ($96 million) for the quarter,
missing a forecast of 92.3 million francs in a Reuters poll of
Clariant said it expected sales to grow by a low to mid
single-digit percentage in local currency this year and a margin
on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation
(EBITDA) before exceptional items above last year's level.
It plans to pay 0.36 francs per share as a dividend.
Hit by the devaluation of a handful of emerging market
currencies, Clariant said it was seeking to hike prices, for
example in Latin America, to offset the foreign exchange impact.
Clariant is disposing of various businesses as part of a
restructuring designed to focus on products that are more
profitable and reduce its exposure to areas of the market
vulnerable to swings in the global economy.
The company has reorganised itself into four business units
- care chemicals, plastics and coatings, natural resources and
catalysis and energy.
Chief Executive Hariolf Kottmann said Clariant may make
smaller, so-called bolt-on purchases, and also offload smaller
businesses which no longer fit its four business units, but that
the bulk of its revamp was over.
That means Clariant can now turn to growth and a mid-term
target of recording an EBITDA margin of 16 to 19 percent from
2015, a goal it reiterated on Wednesday.
($1 = 0.8884 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Katharina Bart; Additional reporting by Paul
Arnold; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Mark Potter)