By John Revill
ZURICH, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Switzerland's Clariant CLN.S on Wednesday reported weaker-than-expected earnings and sales during its third quarter, blaming a worsening economic climate.
Sales fell by 1% to 1.043 billion Swiss francs ($1.05 billion), missing analyst forecasts of 1.06 billion francs, according to Refinitiv data.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation also declined by 1% to 169 million francs. After exceptional items it rose 6% to 151 million francs, missing expectations for 178 million francs, as Clariant upped its margin to 14.5% from 13.5%.
Sales from continuing operations rose by 2% in local currencies during the third quarter, due to higher volumes and pricing and stronger sales in its catalysis business, Clariant said.
The company, which lost its CEO earlier this year, upheld its outlook that continuing businesses would achieve above-market growth, higher profitability and stronger cash generation.
At the nine month stage sales were flat while earnings were down 48%, reflecting a provision of 231 million francs it took in the second quarter to cover an EU investigation. When this was removed, EBITDA fell 2% to 524 million francs.
"Our nine months results reflect the resilience and quality of our continuing businesses, in particular in light of the worsening economic environment in the third quarter," said Hariolf Kottmann, Executive Chairman of Clariant.
Earlier this week Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) 2010.SE said it has no intention of selling its 25% stake in Clariant, but has assessed it after taking a $400 million impairment loss on the stake.
Joint venture talks between the two companies were shelved earlier this year due to differences over asset prices.
In July Clariant's Chief Executive Ernesto Ochiello resigned abruptly after less than a year on the job, with former CEO and board chairman Kottmann assuming leadership duties on an interim basis.
($1 = 0.9931 Swiss francs)
(Editing by Michelle Martin)
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