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Clariant posts 2002 loss

Clariant's production facility at Muttenz near Basel. Clariant

Swiss specialty chemicals group Clariant has posted a net loss for the second year running following its costly takeover in 2000 of Britain's BTP.

In a statement on Tuesday, Clariant said it had run up losses of SFr648 million ($476 million) in 2002, following losses of SFr1.2 billion in 2001.

The firm, based in Muttenz near Basel, said turnover for 2002 was also down 3.3 per cent at SFr9.33 billion.

Clariant said the 2002 losses resulted from the company writing off all the remaining goodwill from the acquisition of the fine chemicals maker, BTP.

After writing off SFr1.2 billion in 2001, the company decided to write off a further SFr790 million last year.

It also had to make an SFr100 million adjustment on property, plant and equipment.

Clariant said the board was proposing paying no dividends to shareholders on the 2002 results.

Despite the negative figures, Clariant stock initially gained more than two per cent in early trading. Analysts said the market had welcomed the cut in the company’s debt load.

Disappointing growth

Despite “difficult business conditions” in 2002, “Clariant generated satisfactory sales growth of 4.7 per cent in local currency terms,” the company said.

However, it added: “Growth in the Life Sciences unit did not come up to our expectations, and the improvements achieved were less than expected.”

It said that given current market conditions recovery was likely to be slow in the medium term.

Clariant, which is three-quarters of the way through a restructuring programme, said cash flow management and the reduction of net debt would continue to be “of utmost importance”.

“Clariant will forge ahead with the programmes to cut costs, increase efficiency and reduce current assets,” the company said.

swissinfo with agencies

Clariant posted a loss of SFr648 for 2002.
It said the net loss resulted from its 2000 takeover of the British fine chemicals maker, BTP.
Clariant wrote off SFr790 million last year and made an SFr100 million adjustment on property, plant and equipment.
The company said it would continue with a restructuring programme designed to cut costs and debt.

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