Covestro has confirmed first quarter sales were down 12.3% at EUR 2.8bn. Core volumes were down 4.1% and EBITDA, at EUR 254m, was down 42.5%.
The fall in volumes was attributed to coronavirus-induced shutdowns in China during February and March. Additionally, the fall in selling prices in polyurethanes worldwide hit both sales and EBITDA.
'The coronavirus pandemic is an exceptional situation, and has reinforced existing global uncertainties even further,' said CEO Markus Steilemann.
'Covestro has a solid position and has a strong balance sheet and high liquidity,' said CFO Thomas Toepfer. The company has taken steps to cut costs, and has also secured a further EUR 2.7bn of credit facilities and loans in the quarter.
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Covestro said core volumes will shrink, and free cash flow will be between minus EUR 200 and minus EUR 300m. EBITDA should be between EUR 700m-1.2bn. The company updated its quarterly guidance on 15 April.
Toepfer said the update was needed because 'of the serious impact of coronavirus on global markets'. Full year guidance has already been adjusted for coronavirus impact