FRANKFURT Lanxess (LXSG.DE), the world's largest maker of synthetic rubber, expects earnings to rise again in 2014, helped by a cost-cutting program, its chief executive was quoted saying in an interview.
"Since we have many ideas and projects, I'll keep my confidence for next year," Axel Heitmann was quoted by newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung as saying. "Even if prices remain at low levels we will improve earnings."
Lanxess, which also makes durable plastics, leather chemicals and ingredients for pesticides, said in November it expected core earnings (EBITDA) excluding one-off items of between 710 million euros ($970.6 million) and 760 million for the current year, down from 1.23 billion in 2012.
In an excerpt of the interview with the Sunday newspaper made available to Reuters on Saturday, Heitmann noted this year's expected downturn came against a weak sector backdrop.
"That's not bad given the current situation. The flow of negative news shows no sign of abating after all," the CEO said.
German chemicals trade group VCI earlier this month forecast revenue growth at its member businesses would rise to 1.5 percent next year, citing a slowly improving mood among European customers.
($1 = 0.7315 euros)
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by David Holmes)