The specialty chemicals division, which incorporates pharmaceutical excipients, saw pre-tax income rise to $41.5m, up from $39.5m last year.
Income was constrained somewhat by rising costs but FMC believes it is well placed to successfully navigate through the current economic climate.
Theodore Butz, vice president and general manager of specialty chemicals, said: “Over the last several years our customer base has broadened, its generic players have increased their penetration in many drug categories.
“We have strong positions with both major innovators and key generic companies and remain in an excellent position to support our future growth plans.”
This broad network of partners within the industry will be important to FMC as the rising costs of raw materials, energy, freight and distribution put the squeeze on the company’s bottom line.
FMC, like other chemical companies such as Dow, has increased prices to militate against rising overheads. This, coupled with an increase in the volume of sales, enabled the company’s profits to rise.
While acknowledging that price increases have been implemented in most areas Butz also said that the topic “remains a key priority”.
Striking the balance between increasing prices and remaining competitive in the excipient market, which FMC values at $4.5bn with four to five per cent annual growth, will be a challenge for companies in the coming years.
New venture approaches profitability
The newest section of FMC’s business, Healthcare Ventures, recorded another loss but is anticipated to be profitable over the next year.
An exact loss figure was not given but was described as being no more than a few million dollars a year. The new department is focused on developing and commercialising technologies for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
The business has developed the Protasan Up technology for drug delivery. This is a biopolymer that has properties making it suitable for drug delivery.
Revenues have been growing at around 40 per cent over the last year, with initial investments in the technology currently stopping the business from being profitable.