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Cognis reported that it increased its net external sales by 5.5% to €3 billion in fiscal 2008. On an organic basis (excluding foreign currency effects and the effects of acquisitions and divestments), sales grew by 9.2%. All strategic business units—care chemicals, nutrition and health, and functional products—contributed to this growth. The operating result fell by 2.6% to €351 million, due, according to the company, to higher raw material and energy costs as well as unfavorable exchange rates and a decline in volumes, which began in the fourth quarter.
“Despite an extremely difficult environment in 2008, we successfully managed to strengthen our position in our key markets," said Antonio Trius, CEO, Cognis. "Consumers’ growing desire for personal well-being and heightened awareness of environmental sustainability are increasingly converging in the new green lifestyle, which in turn is reaffirming and validating our strategy. By consistently focusing our core businesses on serving these market demands, Cognis has systematically laid the groundwork for future success.
“The benefits of our wellness and sustainability-driven growth strategy, our improved efficiency and the focus on our core business areas which target less cyclical growth markets are clearly visible and will support our development in 2009. It is difficult to predict what will happen for the rest of the year. One thing that is certain, however, is that Cognis is constantly implementing optimization measures to ensure that it is well prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. To counteract the ongoing weak demand in some of our markets, we recently expanded our cost optimization measures targeting total savings of €70 million in 2009. Additionally, we expect positive effects of lower energy and transportation prices. We will take the chance to strengthen our position in our key markets during these times of economic uncertainties, by leveraging our customer orientation to develop innovative products which help our customers to gain genuine advantages.”
For sales by strategic business unit and charts, visit the Cognis Web site.