Wesel, May 7, 2009

Global economic crisis burdens ALTANA

  • Sales: down 30 percent
  • EBITDA: down 71 percent
  • Positive cash flow
  • Consistent cost management

The specialty chemicals Group ALTANA is strongly affected by the worldwide economic crisis and reports significant decreases in sales and earnings. In the first quarter of the business year 2009, sales fell by 30% to €251.8 million; in the prior-year period sales had amounted to €357.6 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) decreased by 71% from €71.7 million in 2008 to €20.8 million. As a consequence, the EBITDA margin was down to 8.3% and is therefore significantly lower than the prior-year figure of 20.1%. At €0.4 million, following €52.9 million in 2008, earnings before taxes (EBT) remained slightly positive despite the significant decrease in sales and EBITDA.

Development of the divisions

Sales in the BYK Additives & Instruments division fell by 34% from €120.2 million in the first quarter of 2008 to €79.0 million. The ECKART Effect Pigments division recorded a sales decrease of 39% to €57.6 million from €93.9 million in the prior year. At ELANTAS Electrical Insulation sales dropped by around 27% to €64.5 million; in the prior year sales had amounted to €88.1 million. In the ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants division sales remained relatively stable, decreasing by about 8% from €55.4 million in the prior year to €50.7 million in the first quarter of 2009.

Measures to improve efficiency and cut costs prove effective

In the late summer 2008, ALTANA had already introduced a comprehensive program to improve efficiency and cut costs. It comprises, among others, a reduction of personnel costs due to operational shutdown periods and short-time work, the postponement of investment measures and a worldwide qualified hiring freeze. In total, the estimated savings potential for 2009 amounts to approximately €50 million; more than €10 million were realized in the first quarter of the current business year.

“Despite our broad positioning in the market, the worldwide economic crisis has also affected ALTANA,“ stated Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber, CEO of ALTANA AG. “In such difficult times we are in an advantageous position of having a solid financial structure.“ The company’s present focus was on maintaining margins and cash flow as well as on a consistent and successful implementation of the set of measures to reduce costs, said Dr. Wolfgruber, adding that ALTANA’s business model was still intact. ”We wish to emerge strengthened from this crisis, building on our innovative strength and market position,“ continued Dr. Wolfgruber.


The general economic conditions for ALTANA are still influenced by very high uncertainty. This is true for almost all customer industries and regions. Against the background of the company’s business performancein the first quarter of 2009 and the present order situation, we expect the market environment to remain very difficult with a significantly declining sales and earnings development in comparison to 2008 for the business year 2009. Due to the high uncertainty in the economic environment it is not possible at present to provide any concrete sales and earnings forecast.

Key Figures Q1 2009


January to March 2009

January to March 2008


(in € million)



in %













Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA)








Operating income (EBIT)








Earnings before taxes (EBT)








Net income (EAT)








Earnings per share (EPS) in €








Research and development expenses








Capital expenditure on intangible assets and property, plant and equipment








Headcount (March 31)




1) As of Dec. 31, 2008


A telephone press conference will take place today, May 7, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. (local time, CEST). More information on the relevant audio webcast, this press release and the interim financial report is available at www.altana.com.

This press release contains forward-looking statements, i.e. current estimates or expectations of future events or future results. These statements are based on beliefs of ALTANA as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to ALTANA. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. ALTANA does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update forward-looking statements to reflect facts, circumstances or events that have occurred or changed after such statements have been made.

ALTANA develops and produces high-quality innovative products in the specialty chemicals business. The ALTANA Group, with headquarters in Wesel/Germany, is a genuine “global player” with 83% of its sales generated by international activities. The ALTANA Group has four divisions: BYK Additives & Instruments, ECKART Effect Pigments, ELANTAS Electrical Insulation, and ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants. All of these divisions occupy a leading position in their target markets with respect to quality, product solution expertise, innovation and service.

ALTANA offers innovative, environmentally compatible solutions with the matching specialty products for coating manufactures, paint and plastic processors, the printing and cosmetic industries, and the electrical and electronic industry. The product range includes additives, special coatings and adhesives, effect pigments, sealants and compounds, impregnating resins & varnishes, and testing and measuring instruments.

At present, the ALTANA Group has 32 production facilities and 46 service and research laboratories worldwide. Throughout the group about 4,700 people work to ensure the success of ALTANA worldwide. In 2007, ALTANA achieved sales of about 1.4 billion euros. Its impressive earning power and high growth rate make ALTANA one of the most successful and innovative chemical groups worldwide.