BASF achieves leap in earnings

Sales in the first six months increased 28 % to EUR 31.7 billion and EBIT before special items rose 96 % to EUR 4.2 billion. Both sales and EBIT before special items were also above the good level of the first quarter of 2010. These developments were especially due to very high demand in the chemicals businesses, that is, in the Chemicals, Plastics, Functional Solutions and Performance Products segments. This was augmented by inventory restocking along the value chain.

BASF expects that economic recovery will continue at a moderate pace in the second half of 2010, however the company expects its sales to grow in 2010 and outpace global chemical production.

All segments help to boost earnings

Thanks to high demand, second-quarter sales in the Chemicals segment grew by 64 % compared with the second quarter of 2009, which was weak due to the economic crisis. EBIT before special items was EUR 429 million higher than the previous year's figure (plus 166 %). Despite the negative impact of the scheduled maintenance shutdown of the Nanjing Verbund site, earnings were up on first-quarter 2010 figures.

Sales in the Plastics segment were 48 % higher in the second quarter compared with the weak level of the previous year. In addition to the good capacity utilisation, the positive effects of restructuring measures are also reflected in the EBIT before special items. It increased by more than EUR 211 million (plus 153 %). Despite a number of scheduled maintenance shutdowns and short supply of polyamide 6,6, the earnings level of the first quarter were surpassed.

The Performance Products segment was able to significantly increase second-quarter sales by 29 % year-on-year thanks to higher volumes and prices. There were delivery bottlenecks in some product lines due to the limited availability of important intermediates. EBIT before special items rose by EUR 391 million (plus 489 %). The strong earnings growth is attributable to the realisation of synergies from the Ciba integration, the implementation of business models and the favourable business environment. All divisions made a clearly positive contribution to EBIT before special items.

Sales in the Functional Solutions segment rose sharply in all regions in the second quarter, mainly due to stronger demand from the automotive industry, and increased 40 % compared with the second quarter of 2009. EBIT before special items was up EUR 117 million compared with the previous year (plus 244 %). In addition to a more favorable business environment, successful restructuring measures contributed to this development.

The segment "Other” posted significant sales growth of 32 % in the second quarter of 2010. This was largely due to higher prices in the Styrenics business. Earnings improved in the Styrenics business.

Sales and earnings increased in all regions

Sales by companies in Europe were 16 % higher than in the same period of the previous year. EBIT before special items rose by EUR 1.14 billion to EUR 2.63 billion (plus 76 %). Thanks to higher demand in the chemicals business, sales and earnings grew substantially compared with the weak first half of 2009.

In North America, sales grew by 42 % in USD and 44 % in EUR terms. Earnings rose by EUR 530 million to EUR 792 million (plus 202 %). Thanks to higher volumes, sales and earnings in the chemicals business increased sharply.

Sales in the Asia Pacific region rose by 55 % in local currency terms, and by 60 % in EUR terms. Earnings grew by EUR 357 million to EUR 603 million (plus 145 %). The dynamic economic upturn had a particularly positive effect on the chemicals business.

In South America, Africa, Middle East sales were up year-on-year by 21 % in local-currency terms and by 33 % in EUR. Earnings in the region were 6 % higher then in the first half of 2009.