Croda first-half sales slip to £881m, but divi protected

Croda International HQ in Snaith, East Yorkshire

Croda International, the Snaith, East Yorkshire-based FTSE 100 speciality chemicals giant, said its group sales fell 6% on a pro forma basis to £880.9 million in the six months ended June 30, 2023.

Adjusted profit before tax fell to £174.3 million from a pro forma of £256 million.

Interim dividend is maintained at 47p “reflecting confidence in future performance.”

Pro forma estimated results for the first half of the prior year have been adjusted for the divestment of the majority of Croda’s performance technologies and industrial chemicals businesses to a wholly owned subsidiary of Cargill Inc.

Croda shares rose about 4%.

Croda CEO Steve Foots said: “The speed and scale of the post-Covid stocking and subsequent destocking has been unprecedented, leading to a decline in first half sales volume and also impacting profit margin.

“Despite this difficult market backdrop, it is testament to the strength of the Croda business that Consumer Care delivered sequential improvement on the second half of 2022, driven by customer demand for innovation and sustainability.

“Excluding the impact of Covid-19 lipid sales in the prior period, we also saw growth across all areas of Life Sciences.

“With continued low visibility, we are taking some actions to protect profitability ahead of conditions returning to normal, while continuing to leverage our strong balance sheet to invest in future growth.

“The confidence we have in Croda’s strategy is undiminished and the opportunities ahead remain very exciting for our business.”

In its 0utlook, Croda said: “With customer destocking in Consumer Care, Crop Protection and Industrial Specialities continuing into the second half of the year, we continue to expect full year 2023 group adjusted profit before tax to be between £370m and £400m.

“We will leverage our strong balance sheet to sustain ongoing investment in our repositioned portfolio, focused on fast-growing niches, to create significant future value.”