Solvay sees profit growth

On 6 June Belgium“s Solvay forecast double-digit net current earnings growth in 2002 thanks to its growing drugs unit and contributions from a recently bought fluorinated products maker. “For 2002 as…

On 6 June Belgium“s Solvay forecast double-digit net current earnings growth in 2002 thanks to its growing drugs unit and contributions from a recently bought fluorinated products maker. “For 2002 as a whole, we are confident,” Solvay chief executive Alois Michielsen told shareholders at the chemical and drug company“s annual meeting. “Barring political accidents which no one can escape, Solvay should show significant improvement in its results.” In 2001, Solvay“s net current earnings slipped 7% to EUR 403 million on falling PVC and polyethylene prices. Michielsen told reporters at the sidelines of the meeting 2002 net current earnings growth would be “double digit”. However, growth in earnings per share will not be as high as minority interests will not be included, in accordance with International Accounting Standards (IAS). Solvay will start publishing quarterly results in 2003 along IAS rules. Full-year earnings in 2002 will be released both along IAS and traditional reporting standards. Michielsen said a stronger-than-expected performance by its drug business, a recovery in its soda ash and processing business, and benefits from a restructuring of its polymer business were helping improve results for the year. Ausimont, an Italian fluorinated products maker which Solvay bought in December, would also give them a boost, he added. Solvay closed its purchase of Ausimont in May 2002, becoming the world“s second biggest maker of fluorinated products, which are used in semiconductors and paint coatings, among other things.