Croda reports rise in half year profits

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CHEMICALS firm Croda International reported a six per cent increase in first-half profit as the company sold more higher-margin products.

Strong demand in North America offset softness in Europe.

The company, which counts Procter & Gamble Co, Unilever, L’Oreal and Estee Lauder Cos Inc among it customers, said adjusted pretax profit rose to £132.6m ($205.68m) from £124.8m a year earlier.

Sales rose 2.5 per cent to £572.9m, driven by a six per cent increase in sales at its core consumer care division, which supplies chemicals to the healthcare, agriculture and personal care industries.

The results prompted the company to raise its interim dividend 8.1 per cent to 26.75 per share.

“The group’s progress during the period was largely driven by continued success with innovative, higher-margin products which boosted overall returns,” the company said.

Croda’s results were helped by a four per cent increase in average prices.

The company typically passes on higher raw material costs to customers and has been raising prices on some of its products since April.

The FTSE-100 company also said it had bought Italy-based biotechnology company Istituto Di Ricerche Biotechnologiche (IRB) for 7.5 million euros.