Clariant’s update on its ties with Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) may be delayed, as antitrust approvals for the Saudi company’s 25 percent stake in the Swiss speciality chemical maker take longer than expected.
The timing of the long-awaited strategy update, planned for early September, is now uncertain, Clariant CEO Hariolf Kottmann told Reuters on Wednesday after the company released first-half 2018 results.
The Saudi chemicals company bought a quarter of Clariant in January, ending the Swiss company’s fight with activist investors who had blocked its planned merger with Huntsman.
Clariant confirmed its 2018 sales and profit targets, but analysts said investors were likely to be more interested in hearing details of how Clariant plans to benefit from the partnership with SABIC, its largest shareholder.
Clariant shares fell 2.8 percent.
The Swiss company cannot start in-depth talks with SABIC over their future until regulators in countries including Brazil and Mexico give their blessing to SABIC’s purchase of its Clariant stake.
The Saudi company is considering increasing its holdings, sources have told Reuters, though SABIC said in January that it had no plans to launch a full takeover.
Analysts say Clariant remains a target.
“Clariant remains the top takeover candidate in the sector,” Baader Helvea analyst Markus Mayer said.
Clariant’s first-half net income rose to 211 million Swiss francs ($212 million), up from 153 million francs a year ago. Sales rose 8 percent to 3.4 billion, from 3.1 billion francs in the same period in 2017 and just ahead of the average analyst forecast in a Reuters poll.
The company took a one-off tax hit in Germany, where an 83 million franc payment reduced its cash flow to 102 million francs, below the 116 million level of a year ago.