Fourth quarter results showed that sales increased 9 per cent to £230.6m, on account of a strong rise in the company’s industrial specialities, up 13.8 per cent to £116.5m, while consumer care sales rose 4.5 per cent to £114.1m.
The quarterly figures also showed that sales volumes had increased for the first time in 2009, up 19.0 per cent, a result that was counterbalanced by lower pricing.
Weaker performance buoyed by currency translations
This meant that full year sales increased by 0.6 per cent to £916.2m, a figure that reflected the much weaker performance from the company during the first half of the year, which was partly mitigated by positive currency translations.
Full year sales for the company’s consumer care division, which mainly covers the personal care market, but also the health care and crop care markets, were up 11.8 per cent to £467.7m.
The company noted that full year sales and performance in the consumer care division was mainly driven by both its health and crop care segments, which are the company’s fastest growing business areas overall.
Industrial specialities bounces back
Breaking the full year figures down also reveals what a marked turn around the industrial specialities unit had in the fourth quarter, underlined by the fact that full year sales for the division actually fell by 9 per cent.
Pre-tax profit for the fourth quarter increased by 44.4 per cent to £30.9m, while for the full year the figure was up 10.5 per cent to £106.4m.
However, the pre-tax profits for the full year did not include a cost of £17.2m for site closures relating to its Bromborough and Wilton production facilities in the North of England. Production from these facilities has been transferred to other Croda facilities worldwide.
Developing markets drive growth
The company’s personal care sales continued to provide a solid performance for the business, mainly driven by strong growth in the South American and Asian markets.
The company said that these markets helped to lift more modest growth rates in both North America and Europe, which were both hard hit by the economic downturn in 2009.
“The encouraging trading performance seen during the second half has continued in 2010 and we are confident of achieving significant progress in the current year,” said Croda chairman Martin Flowers.