DSM says group operating profit fell 41% year on year during the third quarter, although market recovery and a cost savings plan means that the €139m figure was more than double its profit during the second quarter.
For the third quarter 2009, net sales dropped 14% year on year to €2bn, with most sectors experiencing a drop in volume demand. Sales dropped 27% in the pharma intermediates division, 26% for base materials in chemicals, 25% for pharma and 15% for polymer intermediates. Only the nutrition sector saw positive sales growth of 5%.
However, DSM says it experienced healthy results for its plastics related products.
In the performance materials division, its engineering plastics and resins benefited from a recovery in volumes and strong margins, says the firm. Polymer Intermediates recovered “sharply” from the dramatic drop in demand and margins seen at the end of the last year.
DSM has initiated a number of cost cutting measures over the past year, including a reduction in staff. The company has cut 1,147 jobs since the end of Q3 2008 and the workforce now stands at 22,905.
“We are alert that the economic climate remains uncertain and that the path of recovery is likely to prove uneven,” says Feike Sijbesma, chairman of the DSM board. “However, it seems that the first half of 2009 represented the low point for this recession and we are showing that we are well placed to capitalise as markets improve.”