Chemicals business ‘resilient’ despite subdued markets

East Yorkshire-based speciality chemical business Croda has reported lower group sales and profit due to difficult market conditions.

The listed company, which has released its results for the year ended 31 December 2019, reported pre-tax profits of £322.1m (£331.5m at the end of 2018) and sales of £1,265m (£1,268m at the end of 2018).

However, the business also highlighted that it had maintained its robust margin, with an unchanged return on sales of 24.7%.

And it noted an excellent performance in Life Sciences, driven by the strength of Health Care and Crop Protection platforms, with sales in this division up 5.9%.

Steve Foots, chief executive officer, said: “In 2019, we delivered a resilient performance with a strong margin maintained and increased cash flow, despite subdued market conditions. This is testament to Croda’s focused strategy and strong business model.

“An excellent performance in Life Sciences was reflected in sales growth and margin improvement.

“Sales in Personal Care were significantly impacted by a slower US market and by new legislation in China, but conditions improved in line with our expectations in the final quarter, and sector profitability increased further.

“Performance Technologies slowed in line with the wider sector, due to weak industrial demand.

“In the year ahead, subject to trading conditions remaining similar, we expect to make further progress in our consumer markets, whilst demand in industrial markets is expected to remain weak but stable. Our growth will be second half weighted.”