The Lenzing Group was not immune to the continuous downward price development on the marketplace in the first half-year 2013. Nevertheless, against the backdrop of declining sales, Lenzing generated earnings in line with expectations but considerably below the first half of 2012.
Consolidated sales declined by 6.8% in the first half of 2013 to EUR 989.9 mn, down from EUR 1,061.8 mn in the previous year. The significantly lower average fiber selling prices compared to the first half of 2012 could not be compensated by the higher fiber shipment volumes.
Furthermore, there was a loss of external sales of about EUR 42.5 mn at the Paskov pulp plant compared to the first half of 2012. The comparability of the performance indicators in the first half of 2013 with those in the prior-year period is limited due to Lenzing’s sale of its Business Unit Plastics (Lenzing Plastics).
Consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization1 (EBITDA) amounted to EUR 162.0 mn, down 16.3% from EUR 193.6 mn in the first half of 2012. The EBITDA margin was 16.4% in contrast to the prior-year figure of 18.2%.
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) in the first half-year totaled EUR 103.0 mn, a decrease of 27.0% from the previous year’s EBIT of EUR 141.1 mn. This corresponded to an EBIT margin of 10.4% in the first half of 2013 (H1 2012: 13.3%). The disposal of the Business Unit Plastics by the Lenzing Group resulted in a cash inflow of EUR 61.7 mn and a gain on disposal before taxes (affecting EBITDA and EBIT) of EUR 25.9 mn at the half-year reporting date.
In the first half-year 2013, the market was characterized by ongoing high inventories of cotton and surplus production capacities for viscose fibers in China, the most important sales market, and thus globally declining prices for man-made cellulose fibers. The average fiber selling prices of the Lenzing Group totaled EUR 1.76/kg (H1 2012: EUR 2.03/kg).
“We have reacted and already initiated a cost optimization program at the beginning of the year. In addition, we have adjusted our short- and medium-term strategy to the changed market environment. We will more strongly focus on our specialty fibers TENCEL and Modal in the future.
“Viscose fibers will remain an important pillar of our business, but further expansion projects for viscose fibers will only be implemented if correspondingly high profitability is achieved” reports Lenzing’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Untersperger. Current large-scale strategic investments such as the new TENCEL production plant located at the Lenzing site will continue as planned. Moreover, Lenzing will rapidly press ahead with scaling TENCEL to ensure more widespread use.
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