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Clariant Textile, Leather & Paper Chemicals Div posts growth of 3%

Feb '07
Clariant posted a robust rise in sales for the Full Year 2006, with annual organic sales growth of 7% in Swiss francs and 5% in local currency terms. Sales reached CHF 8.100 billion during the period from CHF 7.728 billion a year earlier. Overall, selling prices remained at stable levels, with significant improvements in certain businesses.

Gross margins for the Full Year increased to 30.7% from 30.5% the previous year, despite raw material and energy costs remaining at high levels over the period. Operating income before exceptionals rose 11% to CHF 592 million from CHF 533 million. The operative margin before exceptionals rose to 7.3% from 6.9%. Operating cash flow improved to CHF 284 million from CHF 209 million a year earlier.

Net income from continuing operations, meanwhile, fell to CHF 131 million from CHF 262 million, mainly impacted by a goodwill impairment charge of CHF 100 million in the leather business, as announced in the third quarter. Including discontinued operations, the company reported a net loss of CHF 78 million compared to a net income of CHF 192 million a year earlier.

“We achieved robust top-line growth with stable pricing in 2006. Profitability increased, but we see considerable room for further improvement,” said Jan Secher, Clariant's chief executive officer. “We have laid out clear plans to achieve our goal of above average return on invested capital by the end of 2009. Putting these plans in motion, particularly placing a strong mphasis on improving our cash flow will be our priority this year,” he said.

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