Clariant announced sales of CHF 6.614 billion in the full-year 2009, compared to CHF 8.071 billion in 2008. This represents a decline of 18% in Swiss francs or 14% in local currency. According to the company, the drop in sales reflected the severe economic crisis that affected all businesses across all regions. At the beginning of the year, sales were severely impacted by lower demand levels, resulting in significant capacity underutilization and leading to a depressed gross margin in the first quarter. As the year progressed, capacity utilizations rose as sales volumes improved quarter-by-quarter, therefore reducing capacity underutilization costs. As a result, the gross margin for the full year was 28.2%, only slightly lower compared to the 2008 margin of 28.7%.
All divisions saw a slight recovery in demand in the second half of the year, although to varying degrees. Based on their decisive restructuring and cost-cutting measures, they all contributed positively to the operational income before exceptional items.
Clariant expects 2010 sales growth in local currencies in the low single-digit range. The company's continued restructuring measures will improve the company’s cost position, resulting in a positive impact on the operating result.
The full results are available from Clariant.