January 16, 2013 / 4:11 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Solvay sees significant uncertainty in Europe

* Uncertain on Europe but other parts of world doing well

* U.S. automotive industry “doing very well”

* Has earmarked some divisions for cost cuts

* Is looking at bolt-on buys

* Shares up 1.5 pct (Adds further comments, background)

BRUSSELS, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Brussels-based chemicals firm Solvay is uncertain on the outlook in its European markets, where cash-strapped construction companies are buying fewer pipes and window frames made from its PVC.

Chief Executive Jean-Pierre Clamadieu told a news conference in Brussels, held to commemorate Solvay’s 150th anniversary, the company was “still (seeing) significant uncertainty in Europe.”

Solvay made over 40 percent of its sales from Europe in 2011.

However, Clamadieu added that markets were doing well in other parts of the world, especially in the United States, where it has been helped by the car industry.

The rest of the world is doing well,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “The U.S. automotive industry is doing very well.”

Solvay has already said it may consider selling its PVC business in a few years and Clamadieu said the company had also earmarked areas where he will cut costs in the next few months to keep it on track for its medium-term growth target.

“Here and there we see areas where we will need in the next few months to work on optimising capacity to work on improving competitiveness,” he said.

Solvay is hoping to increase its core profit to 3 billion euros ($4 billion) by 2016, from just over 2 billion in 2011.

In 2011, Solvay bought French chemicals group Rhodia for 3.5 billion euros and Clamadieu said he could not rule out another major acquisition in the medium term.

Before that, however, the firm is looking at making bolt-on buys to help it ramp up its high-growth divisions.

“We are ready today to look at add-on acquisitions if there were opportunities to speed up growth,” Clamadieu said.

Solvay has pinned its growth hopes on its high-tech polymers, advanced materials and consumer chemicals.

Its shares were up 1.5 percent by 1609 GMT. ($1 = 0.7492 euros) (Reporting by Ben Deighton; Writing by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by David Holmes)

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