25 February 2010 09:19 [Source: ICIS news]
(Recasts and adds detail throughout)
LONDON (ICIS news)--BASF swung to a net profit of €455m ($615m) in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared with a loss in the same quarter in 2008, and its operating income before special items was up 19% from the third quarter, the German chemicals major said on Thursday.
The company said it was seeing growth in most of its customer industries, with automotive, IT and electronics leading the way.
Fourth-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) were up nearly three-and-a-half times from the 2008 fourth quarter at €1.00bn ($1.35bn), BASF said.
“The fourth quarter of 2009 was encouraging and gives us grounds for confidence,” BASF CEO Jurgen Hambrecht said in a statement, although he cautioned that overall there were “no signs of a self-sustaining economic recovery”.
“[The year] 2010 will be a transitional year with uneven development from region to region,” he added.
BASF posted a net profit of €455m in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared with a loss of €313m in the same period in 2008, it said.
Fourth-quarter sales were down 7.9% year on year at €13.2bn, but were up 2.9% from the third quarter.
Sales volumes in the 2009 fourth quarter were higher than the same period in 2008 as well as for the first time last year, although the 2008 fourth quarter was hit hard by the economic crisis, BASF said.
Full-year net income was down 51.6% year on year at €1.41bn, while full-year sales were down 18.6% at €50.69bn, the company said.
EBIT before special items for the year were at €4.85bn, down 29% from 2008, BASF said.
BASF said that all parts of its business posted lower sales in 2009, apart from performance products and agricultural solutions.
Sales in BASF’s chemicals segment declined considerably as a result of lower prices and significantly lower volumes, with the petrochemicals division, in particular, adversely affected, the company said.
“The [chemicals] segment’s income from operations was...significantly below the previous year’s level. Rigorous measures to adjust capacity, reduce costs and increase efficiency helped to mitigate the decline in earnings,” said BASF.
Earnings improved slightly in plastics in 2009, while earnings from agricultural solutions were at a near record, it added.
“We expect a significant increase in EBIT [in 2010], mainly due to a rise in volumes and cost synergies from the Ciba integration,” Hambrecht added in a statement.
($1 = €0.74)
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