17 Juni 2002

Cognis develops solidly during sale process in 2001

Düsseldorf – The globally operating specialty chemicals company Cognis has maintained its market position in the course of the sale of the company and despite the generally weak state of the economy. The sale of the company by Henkel KGaA to the investor group Permira, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Schroder Ventures Life Sciences was completed on 30 November 2001.

In the 2001 business year Cognis achieved an EBIT before exceptional items of 253 million euros. However, these exceptional items reduced the operating result to 174 million euros (221 million euros in 2000). Overall the sales of the Cognis Group amounted to 3,133 million euros. Despite the difficult economic environment, especially in the second half of 2001, this performance almost equalled last year‘s sales of 3,195 million euros.

Regional developments
In 2001 sales in Europe, where just over half of turnover was earned, increased by 1%. In Latin America and Africa last year‘s sales figures were matched. Due to the state of the economy, sales in North America decreased by 6% and in the Asia/Pacific region by 5%.

Exceptional items played a significant role
The expenditure resulting from the acquisition of the company was one of the exceptional items that negatively affected the result in 2001. Restructuring expenditure, especially in the USA, also played a role. In addition, there were unscheduled depreciations in connection with the discontinuation of a product line. In view of this background, Cognis sees its results in a positive light: “The generally weak state of the economy caused problems for all companies, and taking this and the special factors that affected Cognis last year into account, we can conclude that our business developed very positively”, says Joachim Söhngen, Chief Financial Officer at Cognis. “If we discount the effects of the exceptional items on our results, then our return on sales for 2001 was about 8.1% compared to 7.4% last year.”

Business units post very different sales results
Turnover with the Henkel Group for 2000 has not been reported for the respective business units but as ”other activities”. Thus sales achieved by the business units in 2001 cannot be compared with last year’s figures. Oleochemicals increased annual sales to 1,099 million euros. Primary Surfactants played a major role in this success, providing at least partial compensation for the lower sales achieved by the fatty acids and performance monomers as well as for the effect of the drop in the prices for glycerine.

Care Chemicals continue their growth with a turnover of 837 million euros. In particular, the business profited from the launch of new products in the area of special tensides and from new concepts in Skin Care in Europe. It is expected that the acquisition of Laboratorios Dr. Vinyals, a Spanish company specializing in vegetable extracts, will provide further decisive growth.

There were fluctuations in the business results posted by Organic Specialties in 2001. Turnover amounted to 1,171 million euros despite the negative effect of the weaker sales achieved by Plastics Technology, Textile Technology and Synlubes. Mining Technology and Oilfield Activities succeeded in boosting sales considerably, and Agrosolutions also improved on last year’s figures. Leather Technology maintained the results it had achieved in 2000.

First quarter of 2002 shows positive tendency
At the beginning of 2002 Cognis streamlined its management and business structure in order to be able to make optimum use of the market potential. The company’s activities were reorganized in five new divisions with the intention of focussing orientation even more closely on the requirements of the market and of customers. Sales of 803 million euros were achieved in the first quarter of 2002, which is only slightly less than the figure of 808 million euros posted in the first quarter of last year. In order to make the development of the operational business even more transparent, Cognis will make its base of reference the earnings achieved before depreciation, amortization, and exceptional items (EBITDA Recurring). This amounted to 104 million euros in the first quarter of 2002.

Regional developments
If the turnover achieved is considered on a regional basis, then above all the Asia/Pacific region succeeded in increasing sales clearly by 7.2% in comparison with the first quarter last year. Whereas sales in Africa and Europe almost reached the same level as in the previous year, turnover in America was down by 3.0% as a result of the difficult economic situation.

Sales Results of business units in the first Quarter 2002
The restructured Oleochemicals division posted sales of 269 million euros, almost 2.4% less than in the same period last year. Oilfield Technology, Primary Surfactants and Silicates achieved particularly high sales here. Care Chemicals increased its sales in the first quarter by 0.8% to 142 million euros, with the greatest growth being attained in Germany and Turkey. The Nutrition & Health division achieved sales of 75 million euros, exceeding last year’s figures by all of 10.1%. Sterols, sterol esters and natural vitamin E, as well as carotenoids were the driving force behind this growth. Functional Products posted sales of 172 million euros. Demand for Coatings & Inks products was affected adversely by the general economic situation, whereas sales of agrochemical additives developed very well. Overall sales remained 4.3% lower than in the equivalent period of 2001. Process Chemicals contributed 126 million euros to the company sales for the first quarter, which was 3.6% less than in the previous year. However, textile auxiliaries in particular showed strong growth, with the strongest markets at present being Turkey, the USA and Asia.

About the company:
Cognis is a worldwide leader in specialty chemicals with about 9,100 employees in almost 50 countries on all continents. The most important customers are in the detergents and cleaners industry, the cosmetics industry, and a number of other industrial markets such as nutrition & health, coatings and inks, textiles, and plastics, as well as agrosolutions.

For further information please contact:

Joachim Söhngen, Chief Financial Officer, Cognis Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG
Phone: +49 211 7940 5359
email: joachim.soehngen@cognis.com
Internet: www.cognis.com

Susanne Marell, Vice President, Cognis Corporate Communications
Phone: +49 211 7940 5395
email: susanne.marell@cognis.com
Internet: www.cognis.com

Susanne Sengel, Corporate Communications Manager, Cognis Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG
Phone: +49 211 7940 5431
email: susanne.sengel@cognis.com
Internet: www.cognis.com

(Vgl. auch Meldung vom 2002-01-01)

Source: Cognis Deutschland, Pressemitteilung vom 17. Juni 2002.

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