Speciality chemicals company Cognis yesterday reported an operating result before depreciation and special factors (EBITDA recurring) of €393 million for the full year 2002, an increase of €12 million, or 3.1 per cent, over last year.
Sales were flat, remaining at the previous year's levels of €3.126 million impacted by a difficult economic environment and the US dollar exchange-rate. Cognis said however that it increased its returns from sales in respect of the result before depreciation and special factors in 2002 from 12.2 per cent to 12.6 per cent.
"We are very pleased with the annual result for 2002," said Joachim Söhngen, Cognis' chief financial officer, commenting on the company's overall performance."Our result has improved in spite of the slight downturn in total sales. Increased profitability shows that the restructuring of our operational units is putting us in an even better position to fulfil the demands of the market."
Sales by region reflected the strong influence of the dollar exchange rates. In Europe, the company saw sales reach €1.724 million, an increase in European business of €52 million, up 3.1 per cent. There was a downturn in sales in the dollar-dominated regions of the world however. In North America they dropped by €44 million to €835 million, in Latin America they dropped by €12 million or 6.2 per cent to €174 million and in the Asia-Pacific region by 3 million to €388 million.
The company said operations at each of its five divisions were affected to varying degrees by fluctuations in the dollar. Especially affected were sales of oleochemical raw materials, dropping 2.7 per cent, yet at €1.042 million they still constitute the largest share of sales.
The strategic restructuring of the Nutrition & Health division achieved the greatest growth of 5.2 per cent, achieving sales of €276.1 million. Functional Products achieved sales of €683.8 million, dropping 0.9 per cent compared to 2001. This was attributed to currency fluctuations.
"Adjusted for the influence of the development of the exchange rate, the development of Cognis' operational divisions appears to be a lot more positive," claimed Sohngen. "Altogether sales rose by 2.2 per cent, or €69 million compared to last year."
Cognis markets natural raw materials and ingredients for food, nutrition and healthcare markets, and the cosmetics, detergents and cleaners industries. It is owned by private equity funds advised by Permira, GS Capital Partners, and Schroder Ventures Life Sciences.