Brenntag Q1 sales up 2.9%

Growth was strongest in Europe and North America

German chemical distribution firm Brenntag has reported sales for the first quarter of 2014 of €2.416bn, up 2.9% on a constant currency basis (-0.1% as reported) compared to Q1 2013. Year-on-year gross profit rose 4.4% on a constant currency basis (1.2% as reported) to €483.6m, while operating EBITDA rose 2.8% (-0.4% as reported) to €164m.

Highest growth was in North America where external sales rose 6.9% compared with the same period of the previous year on a constant currency basis (2.1% as reported) to reach €771.7m. Growth was also positive in Europe with external sales reaching €1.1756bn, up 2.7% year-on-year on a constant currency basis (2.1% as reported).

However, in Latin America operating gross profit fell 4.1% on a constant currency basis (11.3% as reported) to €37.6m, impacted by the macroeconomic developments in Venezuela in the first quarter of 2014. Excluding Venezuela, operating EBITDA on a constant currency basis was up 5.9% on the same period of the previous year. Similarly, in Asia Pacific, operating gross profit declined by 2.1% on a constant currency basis (10.9% as reported) to €27.8m and operating EBITDA fell 30.3% on a constant currency basis (36.1% as reported) to €8.5m.

"While the economies in the developed regions of North America and Europe are clearly recovering, the markets in the emerging regions hold challenges. This is also reflected in our results in the first quarter 2014,” commented Steven Holland, CEO of Brenntag.

However, looking forward, the company is optimistic, predicting growth for the year ahead. “We will keep on investing continuously in developing our business in order to strengthen and enhance our market position in all regions," Holland said.

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