French specialty chemicals company Rhodia today reported net sales of €6,617 million in 2002, representing a nine per cent drop compared with 2001.
Structural changes related to the different divestments completed in 2001 and 2002 reduced sales by a total of 3.8 per cent and the foreign currency translation effect had a negative impact of 3.9 per cent overall.
On a comparable basis, the company reported that net sales declined by 1.5 per cent with a 2.4 per cent decrease in prices and a 0.9 per cent increase in volumes. Weaker prices principally affected the results of the Polyamide division, owing to the decline in raw material prices and the Services & Specialties division, due to the indexing of its Eco Services businesses' contracts in the United States to the price of gas.
The group's operating Income was €351 million in 2002, against €91 million in 2001, on an historic basis (€16 million reported in 2001 after amortisation of goodwill).
Although net earnings per share generated a loss of €0.02 compared with a loss of €1.19 in 2001 the board of directors at Rhodia proposed to maintain the same net dividend per share as distributed in 2001 of €0.12 per share.
None of the divested businesses - to include Latexia, Teris, Kermel and Rhodia-ster - contributed directly to Rhodia's business model but the company reported that these divestments have enabled the group to focus its business portfolio on the eight key markets where Rhodia has decided to concentrate its efforts.
And the outlook for 2003? The company reported that in the first few weeks of 2003 'forecasts for the coming year have been established against a background of considerable uncertainty.' Rhodia added: "Starting in the first quarter of 2003, the group faces the impact of geopolitical instability and its repercussions on the world economy in general and, more specifically, on the markets for petrochemicals and other raw materials."
Press reports this week suggest that the French company is open to takeover offer. Last year Rhodia ended discussions with potential suitor Dutch specialty chemicals company DSM.