Scandal-hit French chemicals maker Rhodia has been helped by price increases and cost savings to narrow its losses in the first quarter.
The company, which employs about 450 people at the former Albright & Wilson site at Oldbury, repeated it aimed to return to profit in 2006 and forecast consolidated secondquarter results in line with the first quarter.
Rhodia has become embroiled in various legal wranglings in France about allegedly withholding information on its debt, liabilities and assets from the market, although volatility in raw material prices and currency swings could impact performance.
Rhodia disputes the ruling from AMF, the French stock market regulator, while it is also seeking £ 418 million from its former parent company to cover environmental and pension liabilities.
Announcing its firstquarter results, Rhodia said it had accelerated plans to sell or restore growth at its less-profitable business.
It added that there was "satisfactory demand" in its markets. The focus remained on improving margins and on controlling net debt, up at £1.78 billion from £1.57 billion at the end of 2004.