Basel-based specialty chemicals firm Ciba has reported a net loss for 2008 of SFr564 million ($485 million), compared with a net profit of SFr237 million in 2007.
Sales fell nine per cent to SFr5.92 billion, down from SFr6.52 billion.
"Raw material costs have started to ease, but we're not expecting market demand to show any meaningful recovery until late in 2009 at the earliest," said CEO Brendan Cummins.
In the fourth quarter Ciba posted a net loss of SFr41 million compared with a net profit of SFr84 million during the same period in 2007.
In Europe sales were eight per cent lower than 2007, while sales in the Americas held up better, two per cent down. Despite growth slowing in Asia towards the end of the year, sales there increased four per cent on 2007.
In September 2008 Ciba recommended a SFr50 per share public offer from German chemical giant BASF to shareholders. More than 95 per cent of the company's shares were tendered or have been acquired by BASF.