Ciba (Basel, Switzerland) reported that its 2008 sales were 3% lower than 2007, mainly due to the sharp drop in demand in the plastics and coatings industries during the fourth quarter. European sales dropped by 8%; sales in Swiss francs were down by 9%; and the Americas dipped just 2%. Sales in Asia increased by 4%, despite slowing growth towards the end of the year.
Profitability was CHF 308 million for 2008, CHF 244 million lower than 2007. Gross profit margin decreased by 2.1% despite sales prices increasing by 3%.
In 2006, Ciba began the Operational Agenda program to streamline processes. Since the program began, 1,900 jobs have been eliminated, with an expected total reduction of 2,500 positions by the completion of the program in 2009. In response to the drop in demand, the company is reducing capacity at production sites and considering temporary plant closures.