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Chemicals giant BASF ups sales and profit

The world's largest chemicals company, BASF has reported rising profits and slightly higher sales in the third quarter. The German firm upheld its full-year outlook despite a challenging business environment.

BASF announced on Friday that its third-quarter bottom-line earnings rose by 18.5 percent year-on-year. Net income amounted to 1.096 billion euros ($1.512 billion), up from 925 billion euros in the same quarter a year earlier.

The Ludwigshafen-based company said in its quarterly report that the rise in profit was due among other things to significantly stronger business from its Functional Materials & Solutions Division, which produces a wide range of catalytic converters, plastics and ingredients for the automotive, electrical and building industries.

BASF said it also managed to reduce fixed costs at its specialty chemicals business and saw lower one-time deductions to earnings, including for executive stick compensation.

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"Our business developed in a robust way in the third quarter," CEO Kurt Bock commented the earnings report, adding that revenues rose by 1.5 percent to 17.7 billion euros.

Bock said he was confident that full-year targets could be met, but he also warned that the general market environment promised to remain rather volatile.

"The business environment in our sector will most likely stay challenging," he said in a statement, with growth prospects in Europe and other regions still slim and negative currency exchange effects threatening to weigh on earnings for the rest of the year.

hg/pfd (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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