Chemicals firm confident after strong first quarter

Chemicals firm Croda International has reported a solid start to 2018 leaving it on course to deliver its expectations for the year.

Croda International, based in Goole, creates high performance ingredients and technologies globally, gave an update on trading for the first quarter of 2018 this morning.

It said the topline momentum seen through 2017 continued into Q1. Constant currency sales for the core business increased 4%, reflecting strong volume growth across the group’s consumer businesses.

Personal care was the standout performer, with constant currency sales rising 7.6%.

Croda’s crop care business in life sciences also grew strongly.

“Constant currency sales in Life Sciences increased 4.1%. Sales volume continued to grow in Crop Protection and Seed Enhancement, the former benefiting from increased collaboration with multinational and local customers, with the latter driven by demand in vegetables and film coatings. The acquisition of Plant Impact has introduced rich opportunities in biostimulants, with a limited adverse profit impact anticipated in 2018 whilst the business is scaled up. Health care saw good excipient sales growth, helping offset the loss of sales from our former North American API contract,” the company said.

Croda said it has continued to invest in disruptive technologies in core markets.

During the quarter it completed the acquisition of Nautilus, a marine biotechnology company which has potential applications in personal care actives and other markets, alongside the acquisition of Plant Impact in life sciences.

“Our open innovation programme is supplementing internal R&D investment, whilst our smart partnering initiative saw the launch of an exciting range of innovative special effect pigments into the premium colour cosmetics market,” Croda said.

Steve Foots, chief executive, said: “We are focused on our strategy of ‘Growing the Core’, driving top line growth at industry leading margins to achieve superior returns, and ‘Stretching the Growth’, accelerating delivery across our markets. I am pleased with the encouraging start to 2018, with momentum in our consumer businesses and continued progress towards our profitability goal in Performance Technologies. We are on track to deliver our expectations for the year.”