Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) reported a 22 per cent fall in first quarter profits, reflecting tough conditions in most of its sectors, reports the Financial Times this week.
Pre-tax profit was down £19m (€30.7m) to £66m, due to an £18m reduction in income from associates - largely the result of continued difficult trading conditions for Huntsman International.
ICI said it was encouraged by the trend in its performance, but did not go as far as rivals that have forecast economic improvement this year.
"Although we remain uncertain about the timing of widespread economic recovery, we are encouraged by the trend in the performance of ICI's International Businesses seen during the first quarter."
"Consequently, and given the actions we are taking in our markets and on our cost and capital effectiveness, prospects for the year remain satisfactory," ICI said.
Group turnover was down £170 million from £1.64 billion to £1.47 billion, with growth in Asia offset by continuing weakness in Europe and the US.
Within the core business the performance specialities unit saw trading profit fall by a third. Trading profit in National Starch grew 2 per cent, its second consecutive quarter of improvement, after a sharp fall in the first half of last year. The Financial Times reports that Quest, the flavours and fragrances division of ICI, was flat.
Earnings per share were 5p before goodwill amortisation and exceptionals, down from 6.1p a year ago - adjusted to take account of ICI's £807 million rights issue.