Chemicals giant Croda led the FTSE risers today as its shares hit an all-time high following a third quarter trading update.
Croda, which makes ingredients for products including shampoo and paints, said an improved sales trend that started in the first half of the year continued in the third quarter, with constant currency sales up 4.4 per cent.
Core business sales rose 5.7 per cent due to strong performance in Croda's personal care unit, with sales up 7.5 per cent.
In reported currency, third quarter sales were up 6.1 per cent to £334.6m, including a 1.7 per cent benefit from currency movements. Sales in the year to date were up 12.8 per cent.
Shares in the company, which has a market cap of £5.4bn, rose as high as 4,220p in morning trading. At the time of writing, they were up 4.28 per cent at 4,186p.
Chief executive Steve Foots said:
We continue successfully to deliver on our priorities for 2017 - driving profitability through premium, faster growth market niches; improving performance in less differentiated markets; and making progress towards our target increases in return on sales in life sciences and performance technologies.
The combination of good top line growth and margin in Q3 gives us confidence in delivering our expectations for the full year.
Adam Collins, an analyst at Liberum, said Croda's results today "illustrate a pleasing sequential improvement in the underlying growth rate with group constant revenue growth of 4.4 per cent vs. 3.8 per cent at the 1H stage".
"We think consensus of £330m Ebit [earnings before interest and tax] (vs £176m 1H) has scope to tick up a little subject to today's call given growth is being led by a relatively high margin area," Collins said.