BASF has some spare capacity but operating rates are high - CEO

28 October 2010 15:39  [Source: ICIS news]

BASF headquartersLONDON (ICIS)--BASF still has some spare operating capacity but is seeing tight markets in products such as acrylic acid, oxo alcohols and caprolactam, CEO Jurgen Hambrecht said on Thursday.

Capacity utilisation remained at a high level across the chemicals portfolio in the third quarter, the company said in a results presentation, with strong momentum from Asia and, in part, from North America. Tight supplies had contributed to its “excellent” third quarter performance, it said.

The company does not give an overall operating rate for its highly diversified chemicals portfolio and would not comment on a rate for the third quarter which produced strong sales and earnings growth.

However, it re-iterated a positive outlook for the final three months of the year.

Economic growth is likely to decelerate, Hambrecht said, but he added that BASF did not foresee a ‘double-dip’ into recession.

Third quarter group sales fell slightly and were down 3% compared with the second quarter of 2010 but up 23% on the third quarter of 2009.

The sequential quarter-to-quarter dynamic saw earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rise 2% compared with the second quarter of 2010. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) and the net result were up 4% and 5% respectively on the same basis.

BASF on Thursday reported third quarter sales up 23.2% at €15.8bn ($21.6bn) and a net profit for the period at €1.25bn from €237bn in the third quarter of 2009. EBIT before special items for the 2010 quarter were 77.3% higher year on year at €2.21bn.

BASF expects 2010 sales of approximately €63bn and EBIT before special items of more than €8bn, Hambrecht said in a conference call.

BASF’s capital spending in 2010 would be more than 20% lower than in 2009, CFO Kurt Bock said.

That rate of decline would take spending higher than in absolute terms in 2007 and 2008. BASF’s spending on property plant and equipment in 2009 was €4.13bn.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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