“With ‘Bright Future’ we have implemented a transformation program designed to put Performance Materials back on a growth track. We want to further expand our position as a leading supplier of solutions for the electronics industry,” said Kai Beckmann, CEO of Performance Materials and member of the Executive Board of Merck KGaA.
In 2017, Performance Materials generated €2.4 billion or 16% of Group sales. The business sector is currently facing massive market shifts in liquid crystals for display applications. In the coming years, Merck KGaA expects to see a continuing market decline, which will also impact sales. However, this development should be more than offset by growth in OLED materials and photoresists as well as in the Semiconductor Solutions and Surface Solutions business units. In particular, Semiconductor Solutions, is expected to be a main driver of this growth.
Consequently, Merck KGaA assumes that average annual sales growth will range between 2% and 3% in Performance Materials after 2019. The EBITDA pre-margin is expected to amount to around 30% in the long run, representing above-average profitability within the specialty chemicals market.
Performance Materials serves growth markets in the electronics, automotive and cosmetics industries. Particularly, the electronics sector is benefiting from megatrends such as digitalization, mobility and urbanization, supplies a wide variety of end-user markets and is thus more stable and less susceptible to industry cycles. Merck KGaA opened an OLED technology center in Shanghai in June.
Over the past year, Performance Materials has replaced almost its entire leadership team and organized itself into the three business units Display Solutions, Semiconductor Solutions and Surface Solutions. An integrated research and development team is steering the entire innovation process. New business fields and innovations such as liquid crystal windows offer additional growth potential.