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Clariant reports disappointing sales for 1999

The world's largest specialty chemicals company, Clariant, has reported slow sales for 1999, with turnover increasing by only one per cent over the previous year to SFr9.158 billion. The company blamed weak demand in key markets.

This content was published on February 3, 2000 - 11:27

The world's largest specialty chemicals company, Clariant, has reported slow sales for 1999, with turnover increasing by only one per cent over the previous year to SFr9.158 billion. But the company is playing down the results, saying it expects a "sustained upswing" in its target markets this year.

Clariant attributed the slight increase in sales last year to dynamic growth in the fourth quarter. In a statement from its headquarters in Muttenz, near Basel, it said an increase in net income was expected for 1999.

The worst-affected sector was the Process and Performance Products division, which makes textile and leather dyes. Turnover slumped by four per cent - hurt by weak sales in the first quarter, although business picked up in the second half of the year.

The company said this was mainly due to weak demand in Europe and Latin America, although the slump was partly offset by stronger sales in Asia and Latin America.

The Fine Chemicals division also suffered with sales dropping by three per cent.

The best performing division was Masterbatches, which makes additives and colorants for housewares and electronics. Sales shot up by nine per cent over 1998, with the company attributing the strong performance to product innovations and better customer service.

This was followed by the Cellulose Ethers and Emulsions division, which recorded an increase of six percent due to strong sales in the paint and adhesive industries.

Sales in the Surfactants division, which specialises in detergents, performance and process chemicals climbed by three per cent, while sales in Pigments and Additives division were up by only one per cent, again due to weak demand.

The company said it was optimistic for 2000 because the upswing of the last months of 1999 had been sustained in the early weeks of this year.

Clariant and Ciba Specialty Chemicals called off an agreement to merge in 1998.

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