Lanxess sees difficult 1st quarter, falling profits in 2013

German chemicals maker Lanxess said Thursday that weak demand would hurt profits both in the first quarter of the current year and the whole of 2013.

"Contrary to the usual seasonal trend, the low level of demand that was already apparent in the second half of 2012 has continued into the start of the year in most businesses," Lanxess said in a statement.

"Against the backdrop of current weak demand in the tyre and automotive industries in Europe, Lanxess expects significantly lower underlying earnings of 160-180 million euros ($207-233 million) in the first quarter of 2013," the statement said.

In the first quarter of 2012, Lanxess had booked underlying profit, as measured by earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), of 369 million euros, which was the company's strongest quarter ever.

Looking further ahead to the whole of 2013, Lanxess said it did not expect full-year EBITDA to reach last year's record level.

It would give a more precise outlook for the current full year, when it publishes its first-quarter report on May 8, the company said.

As reported earlier this month, Lanxess's profits rose in 2012 as cost-cutting measures helped offset weak demand.

Net profit rose by 2.0 percent to 514 million euros and EBITDA rose by 7.0 percent to 1.225 billion euros on a 4.0-percent increase in sales to 9.094 billion euros.