Specialty chemicals Group ALTANA increased sales by nine percent to €1,070-million in the first half of 2015. In 2014, the same period yielded €985-million. At €210-million, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) almost reached the high level of the previous year (€212-million). At 19.6 percent, the EBITDA margin was below the previous year’s margin (21.5 percent), yet remained at a high level. The company’s sales growth mainly resulted from positive exchange rate effects (eight percent), but also from acquisitions (one percent). Adjusted for these effects, operating sales in the first six months of 2015 were down by one percent, and therefore slightly below the strong previous year’s level. “Demand momentum in our markets did not live up to our expectations in the first half of 2015,” stated Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber, CEO of ALTANA AG. “However, ALTANA is very well positioned for further profitable organic growth.” The ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants division achieved the strongest growth in the period under review. ACTEGA boosted sales by 16 percent to €195-million, mainly as a result of acquisition effects. Adjusted for acquisition and exchange rate effects, sales increased by two percent. The ECKART Effect Pigments division posted the strongest operating sales increase. Due to special factors from the previous year sales were up by three percent. ALTANA posted its strongest growth in the Americas region. Partly due to the current US dollar-euro exchange rate, sales grew by 23 percent. Within the US, sales actually rose by 24 percent. Adjusted for acquisition and exchange rate effects, sales in the Americas remained almost unchanged at the high level of the previous year, with a slight decrease of one percent. Sales growth in 2015 is expected to be in the low single-digit percentage range, and therefore at the lower end of the target range of two to five percent. www.altana.com