Sales volumes were up 2% and demand conditions were better, primarily in North America and China. Sales volumes in Europe were somewhat better than the corresponding period of the previous year, and up marginally on the first quarter of 2013.

Operating income was SEK 262 million (SEK 286 million), and income after tax was SEK 193 million (SEK 203 million). Higher sales volumes and savings measures had a positive impact on income, while lower production rates in plants compared to the corresponding period of the previous year had a negative effect. The operating margin was 15.9% (15.8%).

Half year results from 1 January – 30 June 2013 reported net sales of SEK 3,229 million (SEK 3,621 million), down 11% year on year. Sales volumes were down 0.3%.

The cash offer to shareholders that Lindéngruppen AB and Foundation Asset Management Sweden AB made through H Intressenter AB in February 2013, to transfer all the shares of Höganäs AB (publ) to H Intressenter AB, has been extended to 16 August 2013, and increased to a price of SEK 325 per share. Höganäs’ board of directors has recommended that all Höganäs shareholders accept H Intressenter’s revised offer.

“Global market progress presents a divided picture,” said Alrik Danielson, CEO. “We are satisfied to see the progress of our volumes in North America and China, while demand conditions were sluggish on some other emerging markets in the spring. In Europe, we saw a marginal sales increase, thanks to Eastern Europe. Thus, Höganäs’ broad geographical diversity meant that sales volumes for the first half-year were fairly good overall. However, to reduce the risk of holding excessive inventories in the autumn, we decided to run lower production volumes than the previous year in the spring, as reflected in our improved cash flow."

Danielson added that prospects are basically unchanged compared to the assessment made in the Interim Report of 24 April. "We have a fundamentally positive view of South America and Asia, even if uncertainty has increased in the short term," he said. "Sales growth numbers in Asia in 2013 will also be negatively affected by the recovery effect in 2012, post-tsunami and flooding. In addition, the Indian economy is fairly weak, and Asian exporters will be affected by weak market conditions in Europe."
Höganäs expects demand to improve in North America, although it believes the rate of recovery will probably remain volatile. "In historical terms, European market conditions were also poor in the first half-year 2013, and we still do not see the prospects of this recovering rapidly," Danielson noted.