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Rhodia confirms its strong pricing power & full year objectives

10
Nov '08
Rhodia announces third quarter 2008 results.

“In the third quarter, Rhodia confirmed once again its strong pricing power which allowed the Group to offset not only record raw material and energy cost increases, but also the negative foreign exchange impact," commented Rhodia Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Pierre Clamadieu.

“We are continuously delivering on our commitments. Our leading competitive positions supported by our focused portfolio strategy, our balanced geographical presence, the diversity of the markets we serve and our healthy financials, give us confidence in the potential of our businesses going forward. We therefore confirm our 2008 financial objectives."

1. Strong pricing fully offset cost rises and negative transactional forex impact : Net Sales rose by 6.3%(1) to €1,224 million, driven by a 13.7% positive impact from price increases in local currencies. A sustained good level of demand was registered across businesses compensating for first signs of slowdown in Polyamide. As anticipated, volumes were also affected by Q3-Q4 CER phasing. The transactional foreign exchange impact was (2.6)%.

Recurring EBITDA stood at €168 million versus €174 million in Q3 2007. The (3.4)% decline was mainly due to volume phasing impact of CERs, while negative effect from lower volumes in Polyamide were mostly offset by good performance in other Enterprises, particularly Novecare. Price increases of €158 million fully offset both a €(139) million increase in raw material and energy costs as well as a transactional foreign exchange impact of €(17) million. Fixed costs were under control and decreased by €9 million.

Operating Profit amounted to €87 million versus €104 million in the third quarter of 2007, essentially reflecting the change in recurring EBITDA.

The Financial Result was stable at €(44) million compared to the third quarter 2007.

The Net Profit Group Share increased 24% from €45 million in the third quarter of 2007 to €56 million in the third quarter of 2008, reflecting the capital gains from the Isocyanates divestment.

Earnings per Share rose 25% to €0.55 from €0.44 a year earlier.

2 Free Cash Flow affected by temporarily negative Working Capital variance : Working Capital stood at 14.6% of total sales versus 13.6% a year earlier. The €87 million increase in Working Capital versus the end of the second quarter of 2008 can be attributed to the strong price rises impacting both receivables and inventories, as well as the continued effect of the deployment of the SAP based system in Rhodia's USA operations which should be normalized by end of 2008.

Due to the continuous selective investment policy, Capital Expenditure decreased from €83 million in the third quarter of 2007 to €71 million in the third quarter of 2008.

The temporary increase in Working Capital weighed on the Free Cash Flow, which amounted to €(69) million.


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