Croda is to embark on a productivity improvement programme with some smaller plant closures over the next two years.
Announcing 1998 pre-tax profits of £33m, down £4.3m on 1997, company chairman Keith Hopkins blamed the fall on the pound’s continuing strength against the euro and slack demand in the UK and east Asia.
It intends to consolidate production in larger sites to improve competitiveness but has yet to reveal which plants will close.
Croda increased turnover to £354.9m, up £3.4m on 1997, and has invested £31.3m in capital expenditure in 1998. Of Croda’s sales, 66% are in oleochemicals. Volumes rose 4%, but profit growth was cut by the strong pound, high raw material costs, and strong competition.
In its other main business industrial chemicals slack UK and European demand held back profits.