BASFs business continued to develop favorably in the first quarter of 2010. In conjunction with the recovery of the economy and some restocking of inventories by customers, demand has risen strongly in almost all divisions. At the same time, some chemical products were in short supply. Thanks to these improvements in the market environment, sales increased by 26% to 15.5 billion.
Income from operations before special items rose by 98% to 1.95 billion, primarily as a result of higher capacity utilization. Earnings improved significantly in almost all divisions. Measures to reduce costs and increase efficiency, as well as synergies from the Ciba integration, also contributed to improved earnings. Sales and earnings increased further compared with the fourth quarter of 2009.
The business environment in the Plastics segment has been recovering steadily since the start of 2009. Sales were substantially higher in comparison with the first quarter of 2009, primarily as a result of increased volumes. Earnings also increased markedly thanks to higher demand. In the Performance Polymers division, increased raw materials prices, partially due to limited product availability, could largely be passed on to the markets, announced the company.