* Lanxess sees Q1 adj EBITDA at about 200 mln euros
* Yr-earlier adj EBITDA figure was 174 mln euros
* Says Q1 to be impacted by effects of strike in Belgium
* Sees adj EBITDA up slightly in 2014
* Shares indicated 1 percent lower, in line with market (Adds 2014 outlook, 2013 underlying core profit figure, background)
FRANKFURT, March 20 (Reuters) - Synthetic rubber specialist Lanxess expects to post a 15 percent increase in underlying core profit for the first quarter, it said on Thursday after overcapacity and rising costs led to a drop in 2013 profits.
The German company, formerly part of synthetic rubber inventor Bayer, has suffered from sluggish demand for tyres and from Asian rivals challenging its dominant position as both a supplier of rubber and as a buyer of butadiene, the main petrochemical precursor material for rubber.
Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), before exceptionals, plunged by 40 percent to 735 million euros ($1 billion) last year as the tough business environment forced it to write down the value of several of its businesses.
It halved its dividend to 0.50 euro per share and warned that it expected the market environment to remain challenging this year, with overcapacity, weakness of the U.S. dollar against the euro and raw material costs continuing to bite.
In addition, first-quarter earnings will be impacted by the effects of a strike at Lanxess’ site in Zwijndrecht, Belgium, where butyl rubber production has been at a standstill for around three weeks.
Nonetheless, Lanxess expects the absence of big one-time costs to help lift its 2014 underlying EBITDA slightly, even if prices remain low.
For the first quarter through the end of March, it said it expects to post underlying EBITDA of about 200 million euros, up from 174 million in the year-earlier period.
$1 = 0.7189 euros $1 = 0.7189 Euros Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by David Holmes