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Brenntag Expects Higher Earnings In 2012 After 'record' 2011

Brenntag AG (BNTGF.PK) on Wednesday said it remains on its growth path and expects all relevant earnings parameters to increase in fiscal 2012 after reporting a 'record' fiscal 2011. The German chemical distributor also announced a dividend of 2 euros per share, based on the strong results.

Brenntag said the anticipated continued positive earnings development in 2012 reflects the expectation of a slower but nevertheless growing world economy and the continuation of the positive trends in the chemical distribution industry, excluding exchange rate effects. The financial result will also be benefited by the full effect of the refinancing made in 2011.

The company will accelerate efficiency measures where necessary, and will continue its strategy to expand its value added services portfolio. Brenntag will also increase market shares especially in growing markets, further improve its position in established markets and focus industries as well as promote the consolidation in the fragmented chemical distribution industry, it said.

CEO Steven Holland said, "One thing is certain, we are perfectly positioned to capture new opportunities with customers and suppliers who continue to rationalize their channel to market strategies and seek further reductions in complexity."

In its fiscal 2011, Brenntag said it was able to achieve strong growth rates in all key performance indicators, driven by the organic growth of the operating business, increased efficiencies, an improved financing mix as well as the earnings contribution of acquisitions.

As announced in its preliminary results in February, fiscal 2011 profit attributable to shareholders climbed 93.2 percent to 277.4 million euros from last year's 143.6 million euros, and earnings per share increased 84 percent to 5.39 euros from 2.93 euros in 2010.

Along with the strong growth in operating EBITDA, the results were boosted by the significantly decreased amortization as well as much lower finance costs as a result of reduced debt since the IPO at the end of the first quarter of 2010.

Brenntag said one of its key profitability indicators - the ratio of operating EBITDA to gross profit - further improved to 37.4 percent from 36.8 percent last year.

Sales grew 13.5 percent on a reported basis and 15.4 percent at constant exchange rates to 8.68 billion euros, with all regions contributing to the positive development, especially Asia Pacific. Higher selling prices and stronger volumes, partly due to acquisitions of Multisol in Europe and Zhong Yung in China, benefited the results.

Noting the unexpected events and challenges in the past year, Holland added, "Nevertheless the Brenntag business once again proved to be resilient even in such uncertain macroeconomic times. We achieved this through an enormous effort to capture new customers and growth from challenging markets and increasing levels of efficiency."

Brenntag shares closed Tuesday's trading at 86.93 euros, down 1.32 euros or 1.49 percent on Frankfurt's Xetra.

by RTT Staff Writer

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