- Croda said it expected a 'slight' improvement in performance in the second half after the chemicals company reported a fall in profits as its personal care division thanks to the US-China trade war.

'Based on the current challenging economic conditions remaining unchanged, overall we expect a slight improvement in performance in the second half of the year versus the prior year comparator,'' Croda said.

For the six months ended 30 June, pre-tax profits fell 2.5% to £170.6m from a year earlier, while sales were up 2.4% to £657.9m.

The company blamed the fall in profits on a higher interest charge following the payment of a special dividend and previous investments.

The somewhat subdued performance comes as weakness in its personal care segment offset growth in its life sciences division.

Personal Care demand slowed, with sales falling by 3.6% and adjusted operating profit by 4.6% in constant currency.

'In the US, consumer spending was squeezed and, in North Asia, new legislation restricting Daigou cross-border selling impacted some local customers. Asia has begun to show some modest recovery and sales with multinational customers continue to grow, as they expand in the region,' the company said.

Its life sciences division saw sales up 13.0% and return on sales improved to 30.6% from 29.9% a year earlier, driven by the strength of its Health and Crop Care platforms.

At 8:03am: [LON:CRDA] Croda International PLC share price was +125.5p at 4951.5p

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