Altana continues its growth course
* Sales: plus 7 percent
* Earnings (EBITDA): plus 18 percent
* Outlook revised and increased
The specialty chemicals company ALTANA AG substantially increased sales and earnings in the first nine months of 2007 compared to the prior year. In the period from January until September, sales rose by 7% from 985.3 million to 1,053.8 million. Adjusted for negative exchange rate as well as minor positive acquisition effects, operating growth was 9%. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew by 18% from 163.5 million to 192.1 million in the first nine months of 2007. All divisions contributed to the growth in earnings with significant growth rates. The EBITDA margin was 18.2%, despite additional costs due to the two-tier holding structure in Wesel and Bad Homburg, which was maintained until the middle of the year. Income before taxes (EBT) totaled 183.9 million (prior year: 102.5 million), comprising the extraordinary interest income in the amount of 55.3 million from the investment of the purchase price for ALTANA Pharma realized until the distribution of the dividend in May 2007.
Strong performance in all divisions
All four divisions contributed to the positive growth in sales and earnings.
The BYK Additives & Instruments division posted an increase of 7% on the prior-years period, with sales rising from 316.8 million to 340.4 million. EBITDA also increased by 7%, from 95.8 million to 102.4 million.
Sales of ECKART Effect Pigments climbed from 254.6 million to 274.9 million, corresponding to an increase of 8%. EBITDA improved significantly by 25%, climbing from 53.0 million to 66.1 million.
ELANTAS Electrical Insulations sales went up from 245.7 million in the prior-years period to 267.5 million; this translates into an increase of 9%. EBITDA was up from 33.7 million to 40.3 million, an increase of 20%.
The ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants division achieved an increase of about 2%, with sales growing from 168.2 million to 171.0 million. At 11%, EBITDA grew significantly stronger from 18.0 million to 20.0 million.
Our very positive business development has continued in the third quarter of 2007, stated Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber, CEO of ALTANA AG. On this basis we expect a very good business year 2007 for ALTANA and increase our outlook.
Positive outlook for the business year 2007
For the business year 2007, ALTANA expects overall significant growth in sales and earnings. With regard to exchange rate expectations, our outlook is still based on a presumed exchange rate at a level of U.S. Dollar 1.35 per Euro on an annual average. Furthermore, our forecast for the current business year takes into consideration the impact of the acquisition of the worldwide effect pigments business of the British company Wolstenholme, which was completed effective as of August 31, 2007.
On this basis, we have revised our previously given outlook and make an upward adjustment to our forecast as follows: We expect a higher single-digit growth in sales to a level of 1.37 to 1.40 billion and a clear double-digit growth in EBITDA to a level between 235 and 245 million. Income before taxes (EBT) is positively influenced by the extraordinary interest income of 55.3 million from the investment of the proceeds from the sale of ALTANA Pharma until the beginning of May 2007.
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