Although the year started off well with a strong volume growth, signs of a slowdown were evident during the latter part of the third quarter. With a deterioration in the economic environment fueled by the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and slower growth in the US and Asia, the performance in the fourth quarter was impacted by lower sales and margins.
The Group’s full year sales rose by 4% to SEK 15,199 m (14,561), despite a negative currency effect of -7% from the strengthening Swedish krona. Although the volume increase for the Group was moderate, certain products such as Penta, Formox and HDI achieved much higher growth levels. Prices rose by 10% to compensate for the rise in raw material costs.
Operating earnings before depreciation and amortization were SEK 1,524 m (1,745) adjusted for items affecting compara¬bility. Fixed costs were below budget, SEK -2,647 m vs budget of SEK -2,753 m.
Several strategic investments continued their progression during the year: the completion of the capacity expansion for caprolactones, the purchased US Penta business from Ashland Inc., the restart of investment in a new production plant for Valeraldehyde and its derivatives 2-PH and DPHP, and an expansion of the Group’s Neo production with a new plant in China.
By the end of 2011 Perstorp and Thailand’s largest chemical producer PTT Global Chemical signed an agreement to form a joint venture dedicated to the manufacturing and sales of aromatic (TDI) and aliphatic (IPDI, HDI & derivates) isocyanates; serving the polyurethane industry.