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Oil and gas fuel BASF profit

German chemical giant BASF has reported a double-digit rise in profit for the second quarter. The firm said a boost in sales on the back of a global economic recovery made it confident about meeting its targets for 2014.

BASF increased its year-on-year profits by 221 million euros ($297.7 million) in the second quarter for a total of 2.1 billion euros before interest and taxes (Ebit), the

chemical company said Thursday


The staggering 12 percent rise on the year was mainly due to higher sales in BASF's chemicals business but also in its oil and gas division.

"In the past months, we invested in attractive business areas, optimized our businesses and increased out efficiency," Chief Executive Kurt Bock said in a statement.

Company revenues grew by 1 percent on the quarter for a total of 18.5 billion euros.

Although earnings were up in BASF's chemicals and oil and gas divisions, profits declined in its Agriculture Solutions sector, hit by devaluated currencies against the euro that cost the company some 200 million euros in the quarter.

Yet the world's largest maker of industrial chemicals still maintained its profit outlook for the year, saying it expected "slightly higher earnings" than in 2013.

Sales, however, were expected to decrease as a result of

a planned divesture in BASF's gas trading and storage division


In December 2013, BASF and Russian gas giant


agreed on an asset swap giving BASF access to Russian oil fields in exchange for its gas trading and storage assets in Germany. The deal was expected to be closed in autumn this year, BASF said.

uhe/cjc (Reuters, dpa)

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