in € million

 

FY 2018

 

FY 2017

 

% yoy

Net sales

 

4,385

 

4,370

 

+0.4%

Specialty Polymers

 

2,009

 

2,025

 

(0.8)%

Composite Materials

 

1,082

 

1,038

 

+4.3%

Special Chem

 

852

 

865

 

(1.5)%

Silica

 

442

 

443

 

(0.1)%

EBITDA

 

1,197

 

1,202

 

(0.4)%

EBITDA margin

 

27.3%

 

27.5%

 

(0.2)pp

EBIT

 

895

 

896

 

(0.1)%

EBIT margin

 

20.4%

 

20.5%

 

(0.1)%

Capex from continuing operations

 

(355)

 

(366)

 

+3.1%

Cash conversion

 

70.4%

 

69.5%

 

+0.8pp

CFROI

 

10.0%

 

10.3%

 

(0.2)pp

Research & innovation

 

(171)

 

(157)

 

+0.1%

Research & innovation intensity

 

3.9%

 

3.6%

 

+0.3pp

Net sales evolution
FY yoy net sales bridge (in €million)

Advanced Materials – Net sales evolution (bar chart)

Net sales were up +0.4% for the year due to higher volumes and mix. Organically sales rose +3.7%, excluding forex conversion and scope, driven by growth in Composite Materials, Specialty Polymers and Silica.

Specialty Polymers delivered solid volume growth in the first half of the year. Demand from healthcare and from the automotive market, where Solvay sales significantly outpaced global car production growth, was solid throughout the year but signs of weakening were observed at the end of the year. The trend toward fuel-efficiency and electrification supported superior growth across all vehicle platforms. Second half sales were flat, however, as the anticipated lower demand for smart devices offset growth in other end-markets.

Composite Materials volumes grew at a high single-digit rate throughout the full year period. Demand for new single-aisle aircrafts utilizing the LEAP engine technology, as well as for the 787 program, drove growth in commercial aircrafts. In military, the ramp-up of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was also a significant contributor of the volume growth.

Volumes were essentially flat in Special Chem, as robust demand from electronics was offset by the tougher than foreseen phase-out of fluorinated insulation blowing agents. In addition, the shift from diesel to gasoline in automotive catalysts continued to pressure the business.

Silica sales into the fuel-efficient tire market grew in the year and prices were supportive, compensating for higher energy costs.

Underlying EBITDA was down -0.4%, but up +3.1% organically, excluding scope effects and forex conversion. Volume growth and higher prices compensated for the transactional forex effects and the increase in raw materials costs, mainly due to the surge of fluorspar prices in Special Chem. Fixed costs rose in Composite Materials reflecting a ramp up in manufacturing to support continued volume growth. The underlying EBITDA margin remained strong for the year at 27%.