Ciba Specialty Chemicals has posted first-quarter net profits of SFr108 million ($67.5 million), down eight per cent on the same period last year.
The result, on sales of SFr1.8 billion, is largely in line with market expectations, and is being portrayed by the Basel-based firm as the evidence of a general improvement in global trading conditions.
Ciba said free cash flow was "substantially" higher than a year ago, allowing it to further reduce its debt.
"The global markets have stabilised and, in certain cases, we are starting to see the first signs of improvement," said Ciba Chief Executive Armin Meyer.
Ciba also announced plans to purchase Dutch firm DSM Melapur for the company's know how about fireproof materials, but no details have been released about the cost of the deal.
Specialty chemicals are used to enhance the durability, performance, color and feel of materials used to produce clothes, packaging, household appliances, automobiles and other industrial and consumer goods.
swissinfo with agencies