Letter from the Management Board

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

2023 was another year of challenges, yet it was a year in which we also boldly seized opportunities.

A demanding economic landscape, geopolitical conflicts, and natural disasters created difficult external conditions for all market participants. Despite being unable to match the previous year’s sales and earnings under these circumstances, we successfully stabilized earnings and cash flow through targeted countermeasures. Simultaneously, we made substantial investments in our future.

With important values at risk in various places throughout 2023, values also embedded in our Guiding Principles, it became even more important for the entire ALTANA team worldwide to concentrate on our strengths. This focus enabled us to create sustainable value for the people around us and society as a whole. After all, great challenges of our time, above all climate protection, demand the full deployment of our solution expertise.

The companies within the ALTANA Group continued to make direct and impactful contributions to making everyday life more sustainable in 2023. All divisions played a role in this endeavor, whether it was enhancing the recyclability of packaging through ACTEGA or fortifying the resilience of large wind turbines with BYK additives in the rotor blades, to cite just two examples.

The volatile economic developments of the past fiscal year are likely to persist, impacting the entire industry. But the economy will undoubtedly recover. Although the development of demand cannot be influenced much in the short term, specialty chemical solutions, such as those offered by ALTANA, continue to be indispensable for our customers and end consumers. Therefore, in 2023, we maintained our commitment to invest in forward-looking areas. We expanded our research and development efforts, actively promoted digitalization, and executed strategic acquisitions. The issuance of a sustainability-linked promissory note loan in November bolstered our financial flexibility for these initiatives.

Notably, the acquisition of the Von Roll Group in September 2023, marking the second largest in our company’s history, and its integration into our ELANTAS division position us to play a pivotal role in advancing e-mobility and renewable energies through innovative electrical insulation systems. Given that the success of the critical energy transformation for climate protection hinges on electrical insulation, this acquisition is of paramount importance. The acquisition of the significantly smaller but no less innovative business of the leading international specialist for high-frequency ultrasonic measuring devices Imaginant for our BYK division in August 2023 also strengthens our solutions expertise. In the early months of 2024, our successful acquisition of the Silberline Group will enhance the global presence of our effect pigments business.

In 2023, we maintained our high level of expenditure on in-house research and development. For instance, a team from ECKART showcased the tangible outcomes of this investment by earning the ALTANA Innovation Award. The team was recognized for developing effect pigments that eliminate the need for chromium VI-containing metallization processes, offering an authentic chrome look. Additionally, our ALTANA startup focused on 3D printing innovation, “Cubic Ink,” propelled the development of new high-performance resins for the emerging additive manufacturing market. This innovation presents novel opportunities for manufacturing products, especially for users in the automotive, aviation, and aerospace industries, as well as in medical technology.

Investments in our sites worldwide are another path we took in 2023 to make ALTANA fit for the future. Last year, for example, we expanded BYK’s US site in Wallingford and began building a new ELANTAS plant in Zhuhai in southern China. Sustainability remains a key criterion, not just in our product solutions but also at our own sites. This commitment aligns not only with the UN Global Compact initiative for responsible and sustainable corporate governance but also with our internal standards. In 2023, our carbon footprint significantly decreased compared to the previous year.

The year 2023 once again underscored that our innovative prowess and financial resilience, coupled with the inherent drive embedded in our DNA to pioneer tomorrow’s solutions today, often positions us as catalysts for positive change, even amidst turbulent times.

In the magazine section of this corporate report, we have highlighted various megatrends to illustrate how our colleagues within the ALTANA Group are collectively driving significant contributions toward a sustainable future. Whether it’s in the realms of energy transformation and e-mobility, or the establishment of climate-friendly supply chains, our solutions have the potential to change entire markets.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to our employees for their extraordinarily high level of commitment and their personal contribution in 2023. Our thanks also go to our customers and business partners as well as to the members of the Supervisory Board for their constructive support and their trust in ALTANA’s work.

Martin Babilas
Dr. Tammo Boinowitz
Stefan Genten