Cinkarna Celje's half-year profit up 63%
The bulk of the sales were generated in foreign markets, rising by 6.4% year-on-year to EUR 85.6m, which the management attributed to higher average sales of titanium dioxide pigment, its flagship product.
Sales in EU markets were up by as much as 11%, while exports to the markets of the former Yugoslavia fell by 18% and sales in the domestic market dropped by 5% on the first half of last year.
Commenting on the results in the unaudited semi-annual report released on Wednesday, the management said the performance trumped last year's figures as well as projections.
The main reason is a continuing deficit in titanium dioxide in the market. Value sales of the product rose by 8% to EUR 79.3m despite a 19.6% drop in volume sales.
Capacity-wise, Cinkarna is among the smaller world players in the global titanium dioxide market, comparable to smaller East European operations.
"Considering intersectoral analysis, profitability comparisons and sales price levels, Cinkarna Celje ranks among the top titanium dioxide industry players," CEO Tomaž Benčina was quoted by the report.
Half-year operating profit rose by 59% to EUR 27.5m.
Capital expenditure amounted to EUR 12.1m, which is more than planned due to additional investment in ore storage expansion and rail track reconstruction.
The Celje-based company has already concluded several of the investments planned for the second half of the year. These are aimed chiefly at modernising titanium oxide production, but also at reducing the environmental impact and improving operational safety.