The news marred the announcement of record profits from the group, ahead of exceptional items, for 1994. Pre-tax profits rose 6.7 per cent to £39.8m, on turnover up from £415m to £423m.
Croda chief executive Keith Hopkins said 20 to 30 per cent increases in packaging prices and higher prices for other raw materials had turned the cosmetics operation into "a disaster area".
The business, which makes own-label products for the big supermarkets and does contract manufacture for overseas, has been unable to pass on the soaring costs, turning a £1.7m profit in 1993 into a loss of £700,000. Mr Hopkins said: "We have a number of interested parties looking at that and we hope to dispose of it later this year."
For the group, earnings per share fell from 27.6p to 22.9p. A final dividend of 5.8p raises the annual total to 8.9p.