Croda on track despite first-quarter sales decline

Croda International, the Snaith, East Yorkshire-based FTSE 100 speciality chemicals giant, said it recorded first-quarter sales of £409 million for the first three months of 2024, down 14% on a reported basis or by 10% in constant currency, against a strong prior year comparator.

Croda’s customers include Estee Lauder, Unilever and Procter and Gamble.

Croda said reported sales were up 8% compared with the fourth quarter of 2023 — “excluding lipid sales for Covid-19 vaccine applications in the previous quarter to aid comparability” — and that overall group results were in line with expectations.

“As previously disclosed, for full year 2024 we continue to expect group adjusted operating margin to be two to three percentage points lower than 2023, and adjusted profit before tax to be between £260m and £300m based on exchange rates at the time of our full year 2023 results announcement,” said the firm.

Croda CEO Steve Foots said: “Consumer Care has made an encouraging start to the year with growth across all business units and a significant improvement in North America.

“Life Sciences continues to experience more challenging market conditions, particularly in crop protection.

“Overall, we are on track to meet our previously stated group guidance for the full year.

“We are focused on executing our strategy, accelerating the conversion of our exciting pharma pipeline, and investing for the future whilst carefully monitoring costs, with a clear set of priorities that will drive our near-term performance.”