Natural chemicals firm Croda said underlying sales improved during the third quarter of the year with growth in both core market sectors in spite of challenging market conditions.
The Goole-based company saw group sales increase four per cent, including 0.6 per cent from acquisitions, reflecting positive momentum in both consumer care and performance technologies.
Croda also saw accelerated underlying growth in new and protected products during the quarter.
Adverse currency translation of 7.3 per cent impacted sales by £19.2m so that reported turnover declined 3.3 per cent to £259m (2013: £267.9m) despite the improving underlying trends.
Operating profit was down 6.4 per cent to £58.1m (2013: £62.1m) impacted both by adverse currency translation of £3.5m and an estimated £2m currency transaction cost in the quarter.
Pre-tax profit was broadly flat on a constant currency basis but declined to £55.1m (2013: £58.7m) on a reported basis.
Underlying cash generation was again strong. After paying the interim dividend in the quarter amounting to £41.8m and investing £15.6m in capital projects, net debt rose by £18m to £219.7m.
Chairman Martin Flower said: “This is an encouraging performance given the improved underlying sales trends across our eight core markets.
“We continue to benefit from the global organisational changes introduced earlier this year, which together with our ongoing focus on R&D and innovation, are improving both our market alignment and customer contact. Whilst market conditions are challenging and the fourth quarter is always the smallest in terms of sales, we remain confident that Croda will continue to make further progress.”