Imerys reported "more challenging" conditions for business
during the fourth quarter of 2018 and for 2019 despite
achieving overall growth for last year largely thanks to a
series of strongly positive previous quarters.
The France-based supplier of minerals and materials for
refractories, ceramics, oilfield and other markets will focus
on cost control and cash flow this year owing to continued
volatility, it said in its latest quarterly report.
"Considering a still volatile and uncertain market
environment, the group will continue to sustain its performance
by giving priority to cost and cash management in 2019," Imerys
chief executive officer Conrad Keijzer said.
The company, which posted a 6.8% increase in 2018 revenue,
noted "a contrasted trend between the first and the second
half" of the year. Demand slowed following a surge in the first
two quarters, it noted.
Organic growth fell from 6% in the second quarter to 3.1% in
the third and 0.3% in the last. Net income from current
operations increased 6.5% in the year while net debt fell
Imerys took a series of actions last year to address
existing challenges in some of its departments. It pulled out
of the ceramic proppants market following a series of losses
incurred by that division and put its Namibian graphite
operation on care and maintenance because of development
It also sold its roofing business, the last building
materials business of the group, which had been underperforming
and was not deemed in line with the rest of the operation.
Separately, Imerys’ North
America’s talc businesses have filed for Chapter
11 bankruptcy protection - the group sought a termination of
the talc-related liabilities brought against the
company’s product through a series of lawsuits.
The bankruptcy reorganization process will have no
repercussions on the rest of the group’s
The company, which used to be organised under five different
business arms, has carried out a complete restructuring of its
operations under two new segments: high temperature materials
& solutions; and performance minerals.
The first segment will look after abrasives, refractories,
foundry and industrial while the second will include
plastics, paints and coatings, filtration, ceramics and