Letter to Stakeholders
Granted, Clariant’s financial results 2021 took a long time to reach you. On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I would like to apologize for the late publication and the delayed General Annual Meeting. This was due to an investigation of accounting issues related to provisions and accruals. Based on the results of this investigation, we have determined the need for a restatement of the 2020 financial statements. We are also updating the quarterly reporting of key financial data for 2020 and 2021. The Board of Directors has reviewed the Integrated Report 2021 and proposes its approval to the Annual General Meeting.
The investigation confirmed what we had issued as guidance in February 2022: Under the leadership of Conrad Keijzer, who started as CEO on 1 January 2021, Clariant has delivered a strong set of results in 2021. The company has shown strong sales growth and increased profitability, concluded the planned divestments, and executed its efficiency improvement programs. On this basis, the Board of Directors proposes a distribution of CHF 0.40 per share for the 2021 financial year to give all shareholders a due share in Clariant’s success.
The results are particularly noteworthy because our leadership had to deal with extraordinary challenges. The pandemic and supply chain disruptions led to an unprecedented situation. The availability and price level of raw materials, the shortage of labor, greatly inflated energy prices and logistics costs – all these have required the full commitment of our employees. Our numbers demonstrate that Clariant, supported by its new, more focused, and higher value specialty portfolio, has become more crisisproof and is able to turn to a profitable growth path even in a challenging environment.
In 2021, the Board of Directors, together with the Executive CommitteeExecutive CommitteeManagement body of joint stock companies; at Clariant the Executive Committee currently comprises four members., created a new, purpose-led strategyPurpose-led strategyClariant aims to move toward top-quartile results in specialty chemicals in terms of growth, profitability, sustainability, and people. Based on its new purpose, »Greater chemistry – between people and planet« Clariant unveiled a new purpose-led strategy with four dimensions, accompanied by new financial and non-financial targets. The strategy reflects Clariant’s ambition to create value with innovative chemistry and a sustainability focus, putting customers, employees, and the planet at the center of all activities.. This strategy is more strongly focused on customers and attractive market segments than before. This shift is important, as our customers deserve to be at the center of our thinking. The more we provide them with superior product offerings to help them improve their sustainability profile, the more we strengthen our position as a relevant business partner. We are in the process of adapting the organization to this new strategic focus. The strategy will enhance organic growth, supported by a series of smaller, high-value bolt-on acquisitions. Equally important will be our investments in growth by expanding our footprint, our R&D facilities, and our production capacities. Our biggest focus here is China, which accounts for roughly 35 % of the world’s specialty chemical markets. All these investments are part of our contribution to the global efforts to stop climate change. The sustainability transformation will trigger huge investments and, above all, innovations. This concerns the replacement of fossil raw materials with biomass, the expansion of a circular economy, and the development of hydrogen technology. Clariant is a leader in low-carbon intensity, already has solutions on offer for these megatrends, and is working on further innovations.
Our strong commitment to sustainability is duly reflected in our new purpose statement, »Greater chemistry – between people and planet.« Customers and employees participated in the definition of this purpose. This shows that we see our customers as partners and co-creators, while we help them to achieve their climate targets with our innovative and sustainable products and solutions.
We have set new goals to become a preferred employer in our industry. This starts with a working environment based on a strong corporate culture that recognizes performance, offers opportunities to learn and grow, and appreciates diversity and inclusion. We want to ensure that diversity is systematically promoted in all dimensions and at all levels in the organization. Ethics also play an important role in our culture, as is evidenced by the fact that the investigation into accounting issues was initiated by employees who had the courage to speak up. Our behaviors are guided by clear and binding principles: Our revised Code of EthicsCode of EthicsThe Code of Ethics is laying down Clariant’s commitments and is intended to be a guide with ethical principles and examples to enable all personnel and associated parties to act with the highest standards of integrity., »Reflect Ourselves,« was rolled out by the Executive and Senior Management across the entire organization in 2021.
Clariant is well prepared to enter a profitable growth path. Our objective is to strengthen our existing market positions and to achieve above-average growth in our three business areas. Strengthening production »in China for China« will continue to play a crucial role in our growth strategy. These ambitions are reflected in our new strategy, which is based on four themes: customer focus, innovative chemistry, leading in sustainability, people engagement. Executing our new purpose-led strategyPurpose-led strategyClariant aims to move toward top-quartile results in specialty chemicals in terms of growth, profitability, sustainability, and people. Based on its new purpose, »Greater chemistry – between people and planet« Clariant unveiled a new purpose-led strategy with four dimensions, accompanied by new financial and non-financial targets. The strategy reflects Clariant’s ambition to create value with innovative chemistry and a sustainability focus, putting customers, employees, and the planet at the center of all activities. will help us achieve our 2025 financial and 2030 non-financial targets. It will also help us advance in environmental, social, and governance dimensions, including our science-based targets to stop climate change and to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Therefore, we welcome the fact that ESG issues are becoming increasingly important for our stakeholders. We have adopted a Sustainability framework, which includes all three dimensions.
The Board of Directors as well as the Clariant management are fully committed to these targets and to creating value for all our stakeholders. My colleagues on the Board of Directors and I thank everyone who contributed to the success of Clariant in 2021.
Günter von Au
Chairman of the Board of Directors