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Croda Says Current Quarter to Mirror ‘Modest’ Start to Year

Croda International Plc, the world’s second-largest maker of cosmetic ingredients, signaled results in the current quarter will probably mirror the “modest” growth posted in the first three months of 2014.

First-quarter pretax profit was little changed at 65.2 million pounds ($110 million) as adverse currency moves clipped earnings by 3.5 million pounds, the Snaith, England-based company said in a statement today

Croda, which makes the active ingredients used in moisturizers, crop chemicals and lubricants, said spending on personal care was weak in North America, and “challenging economic conditions” in South America weighed on demand. Consumer care sales fell 0.6 percent in the quarter.

“We expect the modest improvement in underlying sales growth seen in the first quarter to continue,” Croda said in the statement. “However, adverse currency translation is expected to remain an issue.”

The U.K. company competes with a growing number of chemical companies that have entered the personal-care industry, attracted by the higher margins and more resilient demand. BASF SE is the No. 1 supplier, and other competitors include Ashland Inc. and Clariant AG.

Elementis Plc, which hired a Croda executive to boost growth at its personal-care business, today reported “another successful” quarter at its division supplying clay-based additives, based on geographic expansion and new product releases. BASF is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings on May 2.

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