Research and development
Expenses for research and development at MaterialScience decreased by 11.7% (Fx adj.) in the first quarter of 2015 to €59 million (q1 2014: €60 million). This investment went mainly to explore new areas of application and improve process technologies and products. MaterialScience also invested an additional €21 million in joint development projects with customers in the first quarter of 2015 (q1 2014: €18 million).
Capital expenditures, acquisitions and cooperations
In March 2015, we acquired Thermoplast Composite GmbH (tcg), Germany, a technology leader specializing in the production of thermoplastic fiber composites. MaterialScience will use the acquisition to expand the range of polycarbonate materials for major industries – such as the it and automotive sectors – to include composites made from continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastics. These composites represent a new class of particularly thin and lightweight materials with properties that are superior in many respects to existing solutions based on aluminum, for example.
In the Emerging Markets, MaterialScience had sales of €1,288 million in the first quarter of 2015 (Fx adj.: +0.4%; q1 2014: €1,146 million). The strongest currency-adjusted growth was recorded in Eastern Europe. Business also expanded in Latin America. Sales in Africa, the Middle East and Asia were slightly down against the prior-year period. The Emerging Markets’ share of total MaterialScience sales in the first quarter of 2015 was 42.7% (q1 2014: 40.9%).