Cognis Posts Strong 1Q


Cognis Functional Products business unit posted sales of 229 million (U.S $283.4 million) in 2010s first quarter, up 14.1 percent from 201 million in the year-earlier period. The unit includes synthetic lubricants, mining technology, AgroSolutions and polymers, coatings and inks businesses.

This positive development was driven particularly by the coatings and lubricants businesses, recording higher demand in all regions, Cognis stated about the Functional Products units performance. Some of the key markets, including the automotive, housing and mechanical engineering sectors, have rebounded well since 2009.

As a whole, Cognis reported first quarter sales of 728 million, up 10.6 percent from 659 million in the year-earlier quarter. The company attributed the improvement to strong recovery in actual demand, supported by customer restocking. Cognis recorded net profit of 47 million ($58.2 million), up from a 33 million loss in 2009s first quarter.

With the global pickup in demand in the first quarter 2010 and the strong momentum continuing in April, there are clear signs that global economic conditions continue to recover, said Cognis CEO Antonio Trius. We remain cautiously optimistic and expect that the recovery in Europe will continue, and that Asia-Pacific and other emerging markets will remain on track for growth. By continuing to focus on green specialties, product innovations and particularly emerging markets, we expect to further participate in market growth.

The healthy earnings may boost Cognis appeal as a rumored acquisition target. Lubrizol and BASF were preparing bids to acquire Dusseldorf, Germany-based Cognis, Bloomberg and DowJones Newswires each reported in April. The Financial Times on May 8 stated BASF was in the final stages of preparing a bid for Cognis. Lubrizol was still in the running, according to a May 17 DowJones Newswires report. None of the companies would comment.

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