BRUSSELS, Feb. 20, 2014 (RISI) -The Dutch producer of specialties for graphical and industrial applications in the woodfree uncoated and single-coated paper sector Crown Van Gelder (CVG) is on the lookout for a strategic partner again. Following a rather weak 2013, during which the firm introduced its new FOCUS 2016 strategy, CVG said it will resume its partnership search.
CVG already explored the opportunities for cooperation with other market players in 2011/12. However, the extensive search did not result in a tangible outcome. "In the coming months, CVG will resume its active search for a partnership, against the backdrop of improving economic conditions and a stronger profile of CVG as a niche player in focus areas, despite adverse results in 2013," CVG said in a statement.
According to the firm, exceptionally weak market conditions combined with higher raw material costs and a strong increase in energy prices contributed to a deterioration of results in 2013. The firm suffered an operating loss excluding non-recurring items of Euro 8.4 million ($11.5 million) and a net loss of Euro 8.0 million last year, down from an operating and net profit of Euro 0.7 million and Euro 1.2 million, respectively, in 2012. At Euro 158.1 million, CVG's 2013 sales were slightly lower than the Euro 166.9 million the firm generated in the previous year.
"The traditional summer holiday softness in order intake was more pronounced than before and resulted in [...] demand-related downtime for CVG during these months," CVG said. The firm added that export opportunities outside Europe, which usually support full capacity utilization during this period, were less attractive due to higher input costs and low selling prices. "The lack of these export opportunities during Q3 was the main contributing factor to the drop in sales volumes in 2013," CVG said.
Still, 2013 was the year during which CVG launched its FOCUS 2016 strategy, in which growth ambitions in high-speed inkjet, label and specialty packaging paper play a key role. "In FOCUS 2016, the company set a firm growth ambition for the ‘focus products', aiming at a sales increase in these products of 60,000 tonnes up to 2016 compared to 2012," CVG said, adding that one of the priorities of FOCUS 2016 is to explore partnerships with other market players in order to speed up the process of returning to the desired levels of profitability and to strengthen the long-term market position of CVG.