February 14, 2018 / 7:07 AM / in a year

UPDATE 1-Dutch chemical firm DSM's Q4 profit beats expectations

(Adds CEO quote, more detail)

AMSTERDAM, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Dutch speciality chemicals company DSM on Wednesday reported a higher-than-expected 14 percent rise in fourth-quarter core profit, to 359 million euros ($444.3 million), as sales of its food ingredients and basic materials continued to grow.

DSM, whose products range from vitamins and enzymes to fabrics and plastics used in cars, garments and construction, closed off a strong year in which it outperformed all its markets and lifted adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) 15 percent.

The company forecast another year of double-digit growth in core profit for 2018, as cost saving programmes continue to run, while new growth plans will be presented in the coming months.

“These actions should allow us to continue our above-market growth and further improve our financial returns and capital efficiency,” Chief Executive Feike Sijbesma said in a statement.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average expected adjusted EBITDA of 342 million euros for the fourth quarter. Sales growth of 8 percent to 2.18 billion euros also beat expectations.

DSM reported “exceptionally” high growth in animal nutrition products, helped by an ongoing recovery in Brazil, where a meat scandal put a break on sales in the prior year.

In human nutrition, DSM benefited from higher prices for vitamin C, as overall supply was reduced due to the enforcement of environmental regulations in China.

DSM said dividend over 2017 would rise 6 percent to 1.85 euro per share.

$1 = 0.8080 euros Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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