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Solvay reports better than expected Q4 results, raises dividend

By Marine Strauss

BRUSSELS, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Belgian chemicals group Solvay reported record profits for 2022 on Thursday, beating a company-provided consensus after a stronger-than-expected fourth quarter mainly driven by higher selling prices.

The company, which makes lithium derivatives for batteries, said higher prices had offset weaker volumes and it would continue to maintain pricing power where possible, but warned it expects earnings to fall this year.

For 2023, Solvay said it sees its underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) declining by 3% to 9% from 2022 due to "softer volumes in key markets", including in chemicals, coatings and consumer markets.

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Solvay Chief Executive Officer Ilham Kadri told Reuters plans to split the business into two public companies remain on track for completion in December 2023.

Fourth-quarter net turnover rose 21.6% year-on-year to 3.29 billion euros, driven mainly by higher selling prices across the business but also by sustained demand for soda ash and growth in civil aerospace and coating markets, the company said.

Its annual underlying EBITDA reached a new record in 2022, at 3.29 billion euros ($3.49 billion), beating a company-provided consensus of 3.25 billion euros.

Quarterly EBITDA came in at 736 million euros, up 28.6% from a year earlier and also above a consensus of 703 million euros.

The Brussels-based company raised its dividend by 0.20 euro to 4.05 euro per share, subject to shareholder approval. ($1 = 0.9432 euros) (Reporting by Marine Strauss; Editing by Sonali Paul)