The demand for the products and services of Clariant remained solid. All Business Units (BU), including the recently formed Leather Services BU, recorded good sales growth in local currencies compared to an already high basis of Q3 2009 sales.

Consequently the operating income before exceptional items increased 70% to CHF 182 million ($186 million) compared to CHF 107 million ($109 million) year on year. The operating income margin before exceptional items improved to 10.6% from 6.3% in the previous year.

Restructuring and impairment costs reached CHF 45 million ($46 million). The number of job positions was reduced by 227 during the quarter, to 17,041 at the end of the third quarter. Due to the ongoing restructuring efforts the number of job positions will further decrease until the end of the year to well below 17,000 compared to 17,536 by year-end 2009.

CEO Hariolf Kottmann commented: ‘Overall, Clariant has further improved in the first nine months. Sales growth was solid, profitability improved and cash flow remained strong. Our efforts to generate cash, decrease costs and reduce complexity have progressed according to plan. In addition, we were able to offset the rising raw material costs with higher sales prices and maintained the gross margin at a high level. In the traditionally weaker fourth quarter, we forecast trading conditions to remain unchanged. By the end of 2010, a solid basis for Clariant will have been established that allows us to shift our focus from restructuring to profitable growth.’

Clariant expects trading conditions to remain stable for the remainder of the year. In addition, raw material costs are expected to rise further but at a lower pace than in the first nine months of the year.