ERJ staff report (LMH)
Leverkusen, Germany – Speciality chemical company Lanxess AG is to temporarily shut down its butyl rubber facility in Belgium and EPDM production in Texas in the coming weeks in response to weak market demand.
In a 7 March preliminary full-year financial statement, Lanxess said soft underlying demand in the second half of 2012 had continued into 2013 across most businesses, against the usual seasonal trend.
A spokesperson for Lanxess told ERJ in an 8 March telephone call that the plant near Antwerp in Belgium, which supplies butyl rubber to the tire market, will be closed for four weeks in May. The EPDM plant in Orange, Texas, will be closed for 4-6 weeks and this is expected sometime in the next weeks. This decision, part of Lanxess’ “flexible asset management strategy”, is in response to soft demand in the tire and automotive markets, the spokesperson said.
Fourth quarter sales were flat year-on-year at €2.1 billion, while net income increased to €51 million from €5 million a year earlier, Lanxess said. The German company said its “strict cost discipline and proven flexible asset management” supported this result.
For the year as a whole, sales increased by 4 percent to €9.1 billion, while net income increased by 2 percent to €514 million. Earnings in 2012, pre-exceptionals, were Euro 1.2 billion, a 7 percent increase compared to 2011.
Lanxess added that it expects demand pickup during the year and remains confident to achieve its mid-term earnings goals of €1.4 billion and €1.8 billion in 2014 and 2018 respectively .
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News release from Lanxess