The world's largest chemicals company, BASF, began its 150th year on a positive note - with higher volumes and positive currency effects driving sales growth in the first quarter. Net income, however, dropped slightly.
German chemical giant BASF announced Thursday that its sales in the January-March quarter rose 3 percent from the year ago period to 20.1 billion euros ($22.28 billion).
But at the same time, net income declined by more than 19 percent to 1.2 billion euros, the company said in a statement.
The Ludwigshafen-based firm said that one-off factors weighed on its bottom line in the first three months of 2015, but it expected to "perform well" for the whole year.
The decline in profits was largely because the previous year's figures had been boosted by windfall gains from the disposal of shares in oil and gas fields in the British North Sea, the group explained.
"Our chemicals and our crop protection businesses performed very successfully; earnings in these segments increased significantly," said CEO Kurt Bock.
Stressing enormous potential for BASF in research and development, Bock noted that the company wants to increase spending, particularly to expand its research activities in Asia and North America.
Looking ahead, BASF said it "aims to perform well and slightly increase sales in 2015 in a volatile and challenging environment." Operating profit would "likely match the previous year's level," it added.
This year, the company anticipates larger contributions from its chemicals and crop protection businesses, whereas earnings in its oil and gas segment are expected to drop considerably due to the lower price of oil.
sri/uhe (AFP, Reuters)