How chemicals firm Croda had an "outstanding year" in 2021 as it made £411m in profit

Speciality chemicals firm Croda International enjoyed an “outstanding year” as it reported £411.5m in pre-tax profits and £1.89bn in revenue for the year ended December 31, 2021.

Croda said that all of its businesses were trading ahead of pre-pandemic levels. Underlying sales were up 26 per cent compared to 2020 and 18 per cent ahead of 2019, excluding lipid systems.

Steve Foots, CEO of Croda, told The Yorkshire Post: “We have seen this broad based growth across all of the sectors and all of the regions. This led to record sales, record profits and record margins. Croda is in good shape.”

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As Covid restrictions begin to lift, the company has seen a resurgence in personal care and it’s a trend that Croda expects to continue.

Steve Foots is the CEO of Croda.

Mr Foots said that life sciences was expanding “driven largely” by its healthcare platforms. While crop care had a particular strong second half of the year.

He added: “All the businesses are responding well coming out of the pandemic.

“When you look at 2019, rather than last, which is the management information that we tend to look at to run the business, we’re well ahead of 2019. Sales are up nearly 18 per cent on 2019 and profits are up an impressive 38 per cent.”

Croda also increased innovation with its New and Protected Products (NPP) up from 27 per cent to 37 per cent of total sales.

“We’re becoming a more knowledge intensive business,” Mr Foots said. “Lots more patents, lots more intellectual property and that’s great for our future.”

The Snaith-based firm is transitioning to a pure play consumer care and life sciences company.

In December last year, it agreed to sell the majority of its Performance Technologies and Industrial Chemicals (PTIC) businesses to America firm Cargill for £778m.

Mr Foots said: “We’re very much on track in our consumer care and life sciences businesses and we’re working really well with Cargill to separate the majority of the industrial business, which should be sold by the middle of the year.

“If you look at Croda then, we’re starting to look very different as we move closer to being a more pure play consumer care and life sciences company, which is moving to faster growth markets, with higher margins in the business and a lot more intellectual property and knowledge in the business.

“Our job is to commercialise our people’s knowledge. That puts us in a better position.”

The business has a base in Russia but says the business impact from the current situation in the region is likely to be small.

Mr Foots said: “Our thoughts are with all of those affected by this devastating situation. We don’t have employees in Ukraine but we do have employees in Poland and Russia itself. Our job is to make sure that they are okay and we’re doing everything we can for them. We have less than one per cent of our sales in Russia and less that 0.1 per cent of our sales in Ukraine.”

Croda says it has made a “strong start” to 2022.

“If you look at towards the end of last year we finished very strongly,” Mr Foots said. “Normally in the chemical industry you see some seasonal variation, particularly as you approach the end of the year, we just didn’t see that.”

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James Mitchinson