Croda posts steady results amidst difficult economic times

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UK-based ingredients supplier Croda has posted steady results for the first half 2012, considering strong 2011 comparatives, aided by solid results from its Consumer Care division.

Sales increased 2.4 per cent to £572.9m (€735.5m) despite the combined challenge of weak demand in Europe and adverse currency translation.

Higher margins

The Group’s progress during the period was largely driven by continued success with higher margin products which boosted overall returns.

Less differentiated products and by-products were relatively weak, as expected, but with stronger sales in the higher margin products, Croda’s overall return on sales increased to 23.3 per cent.

In contrast to the difficult trading conditions in Europe, Croda experienced strong demand in most business areas in North America, while in Asia and Latin America it made further progress in focussing on higher margin differentiated products.

‘Robust’ results

The company, who serves some of the key industry’s players such as L’Oréal and Unilever, saw its operating profits rise 6.7 per cent to £133.7m.

“These are a robust set of results which have been achieved despite challenging trading conditions in Europe. Against strong 2011 comparatives and adverse currency translation, both core business segments have made further progress,”​ says company chairman Martin Flower.

“Assuming no significant change in market conditions in the near term, we remain confident that this strategy will enable us to make further progress in the second half of 2012.”

The Consumer Care segment saw sales increase 5.8 per cent to £310.5m with growth across all business areas.

On the acquisition trail

The acquisition of biotech firm Istituto Di Ricerche Biotechnologiche (IRB), for a total consideration of €7.5m was also seen as a key highlight in this period.

The business will be integrated within Croda’s existing Sederma skin care actives business, and provides the chemicals company with additional R&D capability in a fast growing market.

“The acquisition of IRB is an important strategic step and follows our commitment to look for leading edge technologies and R&D capabilities that will accelerate growth in our core business,”​ continues Flower.

“Croda’s resilient track record of growth rests on our consistent ability to bring innovative, high margin products to market and expand our presence in emerging economies.”

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