Why Croda Has Delighted The Market Today

LONDON -- Croda International (ISE: CRDA.L) jumped 111.5 pence, or 5.0%, this morning to 2,340.5 pence following strong interim results for the six months to June 30, 2012.

The marketing and technology company that produces and sells specialty chemicals operates in three segments: Consumer Care, Performance Technologies, and Industrial Chemicals.

Overall, sales were up 2.4% to 572.9 million pounds. This was led by the consumer care division, which has business areas including personal care, health care, and crop care, with a 5.8% increase to 310.5 million pounds. The performance technologies division, which provides specialty ingredients to the lubricants, coatings and polymers, home care, geo technologies, polymer additives, and process additives markets, showed an increase of 1.9% to 212.5 million pounds. One disappointing note was the performance of the comparatively smaller industrial chemicals segment, providing basic fatty acids, glycerine, and textiles, which dipped 13.1% to 49.9 million pounds.

Operating profit was up by 6.7% to 133.7 million pounds, again led by consumer care, with an 9.9% increase to 96.7 million pounds. Performance technologies also showed a rise of 5.7% to 33.4 million pounds with industrial chemicals falling 36.8% to 3.6 million pounds.

Consumer care showed a strong uplift mainly due to crop care, with margins increasing due to price increases in Europe. Performance technologies saw weaker revenues from more traditional products especially in Europe, but this was offset by good growth in new, more differentiated products, which boosted overall margins. Polymer additives and Geo Tech were the strongest performing business areas.

Profit before tax rose 6.3% to 132.6 million pounds and the earnings per share rose 8.1% to 66.9 pence. A dividend per share of 26.75 pence was also announced, which is an 8.1% increase over last year.

Commenting on the results, Martin Flower, chairman, said:

These are a robust set of results which have been achieved despite challenging trading conditions in Europe. Against strong 2011 comparatives and adverse currency translation, both core business segments have made further progress. It is particularly pleasing to see Performance Technologies delivering improved margins and continuing to demonstrate the benefits of increased innovation.

The acquisition of IRB is an important strategic step and follows our commitment to look for leading edge technologies and R&D capabilities that will accelerate growth in our core business.

Croda's resilient track record of growth rests on our consistent ability to bring innovative, high margin products to market and expand our presence in emerging economies. Assuming no significant change in market conditions in the near term, we remain confident that this strategy will enable us to make further progress in the second half of 2012.

Croda will hope it can continue to develop innovative products and expand into emerging economies throughout the second half of the year to build on the good progress of the first six months.

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