* Reduced reliance on rubber business pays off
* CEO says "we will change this company further"
* Q4 EBITDA comes in just ahead of consensus
(Releads, adds CEO comment, details on business performance,
By Ludwig Burger
FRANKFURT, March 15 Quarterly earnings at
Lanxess rose faster than expected on strong sales of
specialty chemicals and engineering plastics, vindicating its
decision to reduce its reliance on its synthetic rubber
It has branched out with the purchase of Chemours'
hygiene product ingredients business and an agreement to buy
Chemtura, a U.S. maker of additives for lubricants and
The German group last year concluded the sale of 50 percent
of its struggling synthetic rubber business to Saudi Aramco
to reduce its exposure to harsh competition in the
Chief Executive Matthias Zachert vowed in an analysts call
the transformation would continue: "We will change this company
further, we will not stop in 2017."
He was speaking after the company said adjusted earnings
before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for
the fourth quarter rose 21 percent to 183 million euros ($195
million), beating average analyst expectations for 178 million
in a Reuters poll.
Margins and earnings were on the rise in engineering
plastics and at its Performance Chemicals unit, a maker of
leather-tanning and water treatment chemicals as well as colour
pigments for roofing tiles.
The rubber joint venture, however, saw margins and profit
decline, with EPDM rubber - used in windscreen wipers, brake
hoses and transmission belts - suffering in particular from
Lanxess also said adjusted EBITDA would increase slightly
this year, not yet taking into account the planned takeover of
Chemtura, which it plans to wrap up by mid-2017.
Zachert said the company would for now manage to pass along
higher petrochemical raw material costs to customers.
The shares advanced 3.4 percent to 65.47 euros,
outperforming the STOXX Europe 600 Chemicals index's 0.3
($1 = 0.9406 euros)
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Keith