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Evonik sees good results in a challenging business environment
18
Aug '08
The Evonik Group grew sales 11 percent year-on-year to €7,926 million between January and June 2008 (H1 2007: €7,166 million). The Chemicals Business Area reported organic growth of 12 percent, with 8 percentage points coming from higher prices and 4 percentage points from increased volumes.

After adjustment for exchange rate movements (minus 4 percentage points) and changes in the scope of consolidation (plus 3 percentage points), this business area's sales increased 11 percent to €5,873 million. In the Energy Business Area sales increased by 16 percent to €1,713 million (H1 2007: €1,472 million), principally because of higher coal prices, which were passed on to customers. The Real Estate Business Area lifted sales 4 percent to €170 million (H1 2007: €164 million).

Successful in all three business areas
EBIT (earnings before interest, income taxes and exceptional items) rose even faster than sales in the first six months of 2008. The significant rise of 17 percent to €869 million (H1 2007: €742 million) was driven by higher earnings from all three business areas.

In the Chemicals Business Area EBIT rose by a substantial 17 percent to €608 million (H1 2007: €522 million), principally due to far higher demand, increased capacity utilization and effective restructuring in recent years. The strength of the euro had a negative impact.

The clear improvement in some selling prices was negated by another sharp rise in raw material and energy costs. The internal raw material cost index, which shows the change in the price of major raw materials in the Chemicals Business Area, rose by 19 percent in the first six months compared with the same period of the previous year. Energy costs increased by 11 percent.

The Energy Business Area increased EBIT by 13 percent to €301 million (H1 2007: €267 million). The main factors here were higher profit from foreign power plants, improved earnings from free market sales of power generated by German power plants and a rise in earnings from coal trading. On the other hand, the upward trend was held back by exchange rates.

The Real Estate Business Area lifted EBIT to €86 million, a considerable rise compared with the year-back figure of €39 million. This was primarily due to earnings from THS, which has been included in the financial statements at equity since December 2007, and gains from sales of commercial property business which were agreed last year and took place in the first quarter of this year.

High investment:
Overall, the pleasing rise in operating earnings led to net income of €522 million. The prior-year figure of €715 million was boosted by substantial one-off factors, especially gains from the divestment of the mining technology company DBT.

The cash flow from operating activities for the continuing operations came to €175 million in the first half of 2008, well below the prior-year figure of €407 million.

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