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Clariant Q1 Sales Down

Clariant AG (CLZNY.PK,CRN.L,CLZNF.PK) reported first quarter 2021 continuing operations sales of 1.002 billion Swiss francs, compared to 1.019 billion francs in the first quarter of 2020. It represented a 2% increase in local currency, whereas depreciating currencies led to a 2% decrease in Swiss francs. The local currency expansion was driven by positive pricing.

On a regional basis, sales in Europe increased by 17% in local currency due in part to the weather-related improvement in the Aviation business.

Sales in Asia also grew by 9 %, driven by the economic recovery and the undemanding comparison base in China in the first quarter of 2020. This improvement was followed closely by Latin America, where sales rose by 4%.

Sales in the Middle East & Africa declined by 9%, while North America was 27% lower primarily driven by the continued challenging environment in Oil Services and the business disruptions in Texas due to the winter storms.

Continuing operations EBITDA rose by 4% in Swiss francs to CHF 164 million, positively influenced by the sales expansion in the first quarter of 2021 and the efficiency program-driven cost savings in the amount of 6 million francs, which generated improvements in each of the three Business Areas.

For the second quarter of 2021, Clariant expects moderate growth in local currency versus the prior year among all three Business Areas driven by the recovery of Industrial Applications in Care Chemicals, demand for Petrochemicals in Catalysis, and continued growth in Additives and Functional Minerals in Natural Resources.

Clariant aims to defend its first quarter 2021 margins in the second quarter of 2021 via cost discipline and pricing actions to overcome the rise in raw material, and logistics cost.

Looking at the full year 2021, Clariant expects to achieve moderate local currency sales growth in continuing operations and a step up in EBITDA margin to slightly above pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels on the back of the growth of its specialty portfolio and the positive impact of the performance programs.

In the mid-term, Clariant expects its continuing businesses to achieve above-market growth, higher profitability, and stronger cash generation based on the focused three pillars and high value specialty portfolio.

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