Croda pays £150m dividend as sales top £2bn

Croda International HQ in Snaith, East Yorkshire

Croda International, the Snaith, East Yorkshire-based FTSE 100 speciality chemicals giant, said its 2022 sales rose 10.6% to £2.089 billion and profit before tax rose 89.6% to £780 million.

The profit before tax figure included a £356 million gain on the divestment of the majority of its performance technologies and industrial chemicals (PTIC) businesses to a wholly owned subsidiary of Cargill Inc.

Adjusted profit before tax rose 11.4% to £496.1 million.

Croda CEO Steve Foots said Croda has continued its transition to “a pure play Consumer Care and Life Sciences business.”

Full year dividend rose 8% to 108p, amounting to £150.7 million.

In its outlook, Croda said: “Though early in the year, the group is trading in line with expectations.

“We expect the customer destocking that has been particularly apparent in North America to come to an end in the first half year, supporting continued sales growth this year in Consumer Care.

“In Life Sciences, we expect good sales growth in Crop Care and the non-Covid related Pharma business to offset the previously indicated decline in Covid-19 vaccine demand.

“Group performance in 2023 will be more second half weighted than in the prior year, reflecting the divestment of the majority of PTIC in June 2022 and the phasing of lipid systems shipments to our principal Covid-19 vaccine customers.

“The combination of our differentiated business model, enhanced investment programme and exciting innovation pipelines in sustainable ingredients and drug delivery will continue to deliver consistent, superior returns.”

Croda shares fell about 4% to around £66.38 to give the firm a stock market value of about £9.3 billion.

Croda CEO Foots said: “2022 has been a milestone year for Croda as we continued our transition to a pure play Consumer Care and Life Sciences business, evolving our portfolio to be more closely aligned to the emerging megatrends driving our markets.

“For the first time, we delivered over £2 billion in sales and £500 million in adjusted operating profit, reflecting progress across all areas of our business.

“Consumer Care is increasingly resilient, supported by encouraging growth in our F&F business, whilst Life Sciences has built on an exceptional prior year, with an exciting project pipeline in Pharma and a stand-out performance in Crop Protection.

“These record results have been achieved whilst managing a challenging environment.

“This demonstrates the power of our business model, our consistent execution, an increased resilience, following our recent portfolio changes, and the increasing importance of our products in our markets.

“We have a disciplined investment approach which is driving both organic and acquisitive growth.

“The increased depth, breadth and resilience of Croda’s business and the significant opportunities that we see in our high-growth markets underpin our confidence for the year ahead.”