Evonik Forecasts Higher Profit on Animal-Feed Ingredients

German chemicals maker Evonik Industries AG forecast slight growth in profit and sales this year on demand for animal-feed ingredients.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization will probably gain from last year’s 1.87 billion euros ($2.09 billion), the Essen-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Additional “upside” is possible should the dollar-euro exchange rate stay at the start of the year’s level, Evonik said. Analysts predict profit of 2.04 billion euros, according to a Bloomberg survey.

“Now that the first few weeks of the year are behind us, I can already say that the upward trend that started in 2014 will continue,” Chief Financial Officer Ute Wolf said today in Essen. “We expect to report a strong start to the year and a strong first quarter.”

Chief Executive Officer Klaus Engel has been seeking opportunities to accelerate growth through acquisitions. The chemical maker has expressed interest in multibillion-euro businesses such as Bayer AG’s plastics unit and Dutch competitor Royal DSM NV, people familiar with the matter have said.

While those deals failed to materialize, the CEO emphasized his willingness to acquire at a capital markets day in October, saying that a purchase could accelerate entrance into adjacent markets and businesses.

Portfolio Change?

“We will mobilize the company’s resources and funds for further growth,” Engel said today. “Our goal is to address the ongoing change in our sector and play a part in shaping it from a position of strength.”

Adjusted Ebitda rose 18 percent to 442 million euros in the fourth quarter, beating the 433 million-euro average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales gained 4 percent to 3.23 billion euros, also exceeding the consensus.

Evonik shares rose 1.5 percent to 31.27 euros as of 9:45 a.m. in Frankfurt, valuing the company at 14.6 billion euros. The stock has gained 15 percent this year, compared with the 19 percent increase in the MDAX index of medium-sized German companies.

The chemical maker’s two main shareholders have said they want to cut their stakes. The RAG foundation still holds 68 percent and CVC Capital Partners 18 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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