The Board of Directors of the SOL Group has approved its First Half 2015 results, declaring itself positive at the solidity of the group against a ‘difficult’ economic backdrop.

Consolidated sales were €333.4m ($373m) for the period, up 8% versus first half 2014 consolidated sales of €308.7m.

EBITDA stood at €72.6m ($81m), 21.8% of sales, while net profit of €16.5m ($18.5m) rose against net profit of €15.5m in first half 2014.

In a still weak economic trend in the European countries, Italy-based multinational SOL Group achieved 8% growth in sales volume in first half 2015 compared with the same period last year.

The positive result is due to the growth of sales abroad, with an increase of 12.6%, but also to an improvement in Italy, SOL notes, where there was growth of 3.6% despite production activity ceasing at its customer Acciaieria Lucchini.

With reference to the two core businesses of the group, technical gases and homecare, the latter once again outperformed its more traditional counterpart. The Technical Gases Division registered an increase in sales of 7.2% in respect to the first semester of 2014, whereas the Home Care Division – in which the group operates through VIVISOL – marked a growth of 8.6%.

“We consider in a positive way the results achieved in the first semester of 2015,” affirmed Marco Annoni, Vice-President of SOL S.p.A., “which confirm the solidity of SOL Group in a very difficult economic situation.”

“In the year 2015,” concluded SOL Chairman Aldo Fumagalli Romario, “our target is to pursue the trend of growth of sales and to maintain the profitability of the group at a good level, continuing the investment programme sustaining the development, the diversification and the innovation.”

Overall operating cash flow was €55.6m ($62.4m), compared to €52.3m in the same period of 2014. Total Net Debt was €246.3m, which increased by €33.6m due to investments made in the first semester.

In terms of new investments, SOL reported three new acquisitions in the reporting period: Cryolab Srl, an Italian company located in Rome and active in the biotechnology business; INSPIRAR SA, a Brazilian company located in Sao Paulo and operating in the homecare business; and Pielmeier Medizintechnik GmbH, a German company also operating in the homecare business.