The world's largest chemicals firm, Germany's BASF, was able to increase its global sales at the beginning of 2013. But a one-off effect ruined its bottom-line profit figure for the first quarter.
BASF net profit in the first three months of 2013 fell to 1.45 billion euros ($1.9 billion) compared with the same quarter a year ago, the Germany-based chemicals maker said in an earnings report released Friday.
However, the decline was primarily due to one-time gains of 650 million euros in the same quarter a year ago when BASF sold its fertilizer division in Antwerp, Belgium, the company said in a statement.
First-quarter revenues actually rose, it added, soaring to 19.7 billion euros - up 4.8 percent.
"We have had a solid start to 2013. In particular, our business with crop protection products continued to be very successful," BASF Chief Executive Kurt Bock told a shareholders meeting Friday.
BASF farm chemical sales and profits jumped considerably due to a good start to the growing season in Europe with higher demand for weed killers and fungicides. In addition, revenues were boosted as BASF for the first time included its latest acquisition, US seed producer Becker Underwood, in its balance sheet.
By contrast, earnings declined at its specialized chemicals business, BASF said.
The company was sticking to its full-year targets of higher sales and earnings before interest and taxes than in 2012, Bock said, despite the market environment remaining volatile.
Bock also announced that dividend per share would increase from 2.50 euros in 2011 to 2.60 euros in 2012, adding that BASF would work to maintain its policy of higher dividend payments every year.
uhe/dr (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)