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Clariant: shares plunge after strategic update

( - Clariant shares dropped more than 11% on Thursday after the Swiss chemicals group posted disappointing second-quarter results and announced a radical shift in its strategy.

The company said the first half of 2019 was "admittedly challenging" - particularly the second quarter, for which EBITDA before exceptional items fell to 162 million Swiss francs, from 172 million Swiss francs in the second quarter of 2018.

Clariant even made an EBITDA loss of 62 million Swiss francs after taking into account a one-off provision of 231 million Swiss francs for the ongoing investigation by the European Commission, the group said.

Clariant said that it now plans to focus on its core high value specialty businesses, intending to sell its pigments business, as well as its masterbatches unit.

Due to current market conditions, Clariant has hence decided to temporarily suspend negotiations with Saudi's SABIC regarding the formation of a business in high performance materials.

The shares were down 11% at 17.7 Swiss francs on Thursday on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

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