Lanxess CEO confirms chemical makers' outlook

FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of chemicals maker Lanxess are seen in Cologne, Germany November 15, 2018. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

BERLIN (Reuters) - The chief executive of Lanxess LXSG.DE confirmed the German speciality chemicals maker's outlook in a German newspaper interview but warned that the year was far from over yet.

In May the company cut its full-year outlook, warning that the impact of the pandemic was likely to intensify. It forecast full-year EBITDA of between 800 million and 900 million euros (£723.00 million - £812.75 million), compared to its March forecast of 900 million to 1.0 billion euros.

“Everyone understands that there is more uncertainty surrounding a forecast at the moment. We have an order book for two months and therefore some clarity,” Matthias Zachert told newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview published on Tuesday.

“That’s why I can now, in July, confirm our forecast again. There’s no reason at the moment to question it. But the year is still long and coronavirus has already brought many surprises.”

Lanxess, whose ingredients are used in surface disinfectants, hand sanitizers and soaps, said in May that growth in its consumer protection and speciality additives segments helped mitigate the impact of the outbreak in the first quarter.

Asked how long Lanxess would suffer under the coronavirus-induced weakness in the automobile industry, upon which around 20% of Lanxess’s revenues depend, he said: “We expect the automotive industry in Europe to only recover gradually in the short-term. It will take until 2023/2024 to return to the 2018 level. That will be a long dry spell.”

Reporting by Michelle Martin, editing by Thomas Escritt