Sales of titanium dioxide pigment, Cinkarna Celje's flagship product, were up by 4.8% compared to the same period last year, but average selling prices were 4.6% below those in the comparable period in 2019, the company said. Results for other programmes, apart the agro line, were below last year's levels.
CEO Aleš Skok assessed that the decrease in revenue was minimal given the circumstances, with sales reaching 75% of the target for the entire year.
The impact of Covid-19 was mitigated by the absence of Chinese producers on the European market at the beginning of the year, which reflected in more demand for pigment in the first quarter. However, after that, a drop in production and stocks accumulated by buyers led to a drop in sales in the second quarter. The situation improved again in the third quarter along with the epidemiological situation.
Cinkarna Celje spent EUR 8.8 million on investment in the first nine months, which is 44% of the sum planned for the year. The company said non-urgent investment and maintenance was suspended during the epidemic, but that it was also usual that most investment payments fell into the final part of the year.
Skok wrote that the key focus remained on titanium dioxide pigment and the "rationalisation of the portfolio of strategic business areas which is focused on the core programme and the phasing out of non-profitable activities".
He added that the financial side of things remained conservative in line with tradition. The company is stable financially and can meet all obligations undisturbed and on time.
The management believes that original targets for this year - a revenue of EUR 174.2 million and a net profit of EUR 14.1 million - are still attainable in case there is no significant deterioration in the epidemiological situation.