Personal care helps Croda battle recession

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Chemical industry Fatty acid

A strong performance from the company’s consumer care division helped the specialty chemicals player battle through tough conditions in its first six months.

Overall sales results were down 3.6 per cent to £447.5m, reflecting the particularly tough conditions that have been experienced in the chemical industry worldwide.

The result came despite a record performance from the consumer care division, which chiefly supplies the personal care segment, together with health care, household and crop care.

Consumer care sales up 16 per cent

The consumer care division posted a 16.6 per cent rise in turnover for the first six months, increasing to £237.1m, a figure that was eclipsed by an even bigger downturn in the industrial specialties division, which saw turnover plummet 19.3 percent to £210.4m.

The company said that its overall performance was primarily affected by depressed glycerine prices, as well as the general depression in the industrial specialties division, although it did also point out that it is now showing some signs of recovery.

Croda said growth of both personal care and health care sales were strong worldwide, despite the impact from glycerine as well as fatty acid sales, while crop care slowed in the second quarter.

Profits take a tumble

The bottom line saw profits from continuing activities fall by 13.8 per cent to £43.6m, a figure that was helped by lower interest charges on debts.

Croda chairman Martin Flower said that the company would pursue further growth potential, particularly in its Care division, while underlining his belief that signs of an upturn and cost savings were likely to reflect better on the performance for the next six months.

“Our core Consumer Care business continues to demonstrate resilience with another period of strong growth in sales, profits and margins,”​ said Flower.

“The group’s strategy is to continue to capitalise on the compelling opportunities for future growth and drive further progress in this division.”

UK plant closure

Earlier this month the company announced that it was consolidating its UK manufacturing base with the closure of a facility due to a reduction in raw material supply.

The Wilton plant manufactured a number of products for use in personal care, home care and industry specialities but was heavily reliant on ethylene oxide as a raw material.

Dow is the only producer of ethylene oxide, so its decision to close its production facility has forced Croda to relocate production, explained Croda spokesperson Charlie Armitstead.

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