Arkema posts 17% rise in earnings

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French speciality materials supplier Arkema SA has reported a 17% year-on-year rise in third quarter earnings at €355m, on a 10% hike in sales at €2.0 billion.

Volumes for the high-performance materials division were up 8%, driven by the company’s investment and strategic focus in adhesives, lighter materials and new energies.

As part of the strategy to expand in adhesives, the French company’s speciality adhesives business line, Bostik, also announced its intention to acquire US-based flooring adhesives company XL Brands.

The acquisition bid follows two earlier purchases by the company: of Den Braven in late 2016 and CMP in May 2017.

“Two factors sum up this strong quarterly performance: a 44% increase in adjusted net income and record-high cash generation,” said chairman and CEO Thierry Le Hénaff.

The drivers of the strong growth for the quarter, explained Hénaff, included the company’s recent industrial investments in Asia and France as well as its R&D projects for batteries, solar power, and adhesives, among others.

Bostik opened a new production facility in Gujarat, west India, earlier in October in a bid to expand its manufacturing footprint. The company also runs another production facility in Bangalore, south of India.

Arkema SA announced a number of key investments Asia in July to increase its bio-sourced polyamide 11 chain production by 50% globally.

The €300m investment, over five years, will see the construction of a “world-scale” plant in an undisclosed location in Asia dedicated to producing Rilsan PA11 biosourced polyamide from castor oil.

The project falls in line with Arkema’s strategy to accelerate its development in advanced materials, and is part of its bid to sustain its customers’ strong growth, in particular in automotive, 3D-printing, and in consumer goods markets such as sports and electronics.

According to Arkema, over the next few years, annual growth of 7% is forecast in the electronics, 3-D printing and automotive industries in Asia.

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