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Clariant reported that sales were down 24% (in Swiss francs) for the second quarter of 2009. However, the company's cash flow from operations improved to CHF184 million, up from from CHF33 million in the previous year period. Its net debt reduced to CHF985 million from CHF1.209 million at year-end 2008.
For the full year 2009, Clariant expects sales in local currencies to decrease 16–20% compared to 2008. Cash flow is expected to remain strong as a result of ongoing stringent net working capital management and further improvement of the operating income before exceptional items compared to the first half of 2009.
“Our focus on generating cash, decreasing costs and reducing complexity has shown results, both in terms of cash flow that remained strong and operating income," said Hariolf Kottmann, CEO, Clariant. "However, we are still challenged by unprecedented low demand and don’t expect a quick recovery. Hence, we are continuing with our efforts to reduce costs, generate cash and simplify our operating structure in order to close the performance gap to our peers and gain further operational and strategic flexibility.”
Clariant's functional chemicals division continued to be the most resilient against the decline in demand. The masterbatches division further lowered its break-even point.