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Sika's net profit climbs 14.5% in 2017 on strong sales

Specialty chemicals company Sika AG posted a 14.5% year-over-year increase in net profit to CHF649.0 million for fiscal 2017 from CHF566.6 million in the prior year.

Net sales were up 8.7% to CHF6.25 billion from CHF5.75 billion in 2016, marking the first time that the company's sales crossed the CHF6 billion mark, said CEO Paul Schuler.

The North America region posted the strongest growth at 18.4%, while EMEA delivered a 7.5% increase in sales.

The company said it achieved record operating profit, which jumped 12.7% to CHF896.3 million for the year.

The company's board proposed a 15.6% hike in gross dividend to CHF111.00 per bearer share from CHF96.00 last year, and to CHF18.50 per registered share from CHF16.00.

Looking ahead, the Swiss company projects sales to increase more than 10% and operating profit to grow "at a disproportionately high rate" in 2018.

It added that risks for the fiscal year ahead include raw material price increases and the uncertainties surrounding Saint-Gobain's "hostile takeover attempt."

Since 2014, the French company has been trying to buy the Burkard family's 16% stake in Sika, giving it nearly 53% of voting rights if the deal goes through, Reuters said in a Dec. 1, 2017, report.

In an attempt to block the deal, Sika's board moved to reduce the voting rights of its founding family to 5%. The Burkads challenged the reduction and the matter is now before a Swiss court, Reuters said.