BASF – the oil and gas company

Currencies, Economic growth, Financial Events, Leverage, Oil markets

BASF Chairman Jürgen Hambrecht sounded confident last week, following their annual results.

2007 sales were €58bn (up 10% on 2006), and income from operations was €7.3bn (up 8%). However, Q4 saw sales up just 1.6% at €14.7bn, and income actually down 3.4% at €1.6bn.

The main culprit in Q4 was chemicals. Sales were marginally down on 2006 at €3.4bn (partly due to the impact of extended plant turnarounds), but income fell 50%. Unsurprisingly, N America was the problem region, with sales down 11% and income down 64%. BASF was clearly hit very hard, as one would expect, by higher feedstock costs and the downturn in housing and autos.

However, BASF was supported by a solid performance from its oil and gas business, where their main partner is Gazprom. The sector accounted for only 18% of 2007 sales, but contributed 41% of total profit. This was a very good performance given the strength of the euro, as the $7/bbl increase in the average price of Brent translated into just a €1/bbl increase for BASF.

The sector’s Q4 performance was excellent. BASF faces a headwind in its gas business when prices are rising, as it takes time to pass on these increases to customers. (Of course, it benefits from the same effect when prices fall). But although oil and gas sales were flat at €3.1bn, they still contributed €800m and represented 50% of total Group income.

BASF are continuing to reshape the portfolio, and hope to complete the styrenics sale within a few weeks. This would follow previous petchem divestments (eg Basell), and the acquisition of late-cycle businesses (eg Engelhard). BASF’s low debt ratio is also a strength as the credit crisis worsens. Whilst its Verbund strategy of highly integrated sites provides cost leadership, which is always critical during a downturn.

Chemicals and plastics will probably cause increased problems for BASF in 2008. But oil prices are already well above BASF’s budget figure of $78/bbl. So its perhaps understandable that Hambrecht felt able to tell the Financial Times he is currently still ‘sleeping well at night.’

PREVIOUS POST

4 issues driving today’s oil price

21/02/2008

Quietly, oil has moved back to the $100/bbl level. This is quite different from ...

Learn more
NEXT POST

Wheat prices add to CFO concerns

26/02/2008

Wheat prices rose 25% yesterday, the biggest one-day rise ever, as Kazakhstan im...

Learn more
More posts
Paradigm shifts create Winners and Losers
20/10/2019

MY ANNUAL BUDGET OUTLOOK WILL BE PUBLISHED NEXT WEEK Next week, I will publish my annual Budget Outl...

Read
Markets face major paradigm shifts as recession approaches
06/10/2019

Major paradigm shifts are occurring in the global economy, as I describe in a new analysis for ICIS ...

Read
$50bn hole appears in New York financial markets – Fed is “looking into it”
29/09/2019

Most people would quickly notice if $50 went missing from their purse or wallet. They would certainl...

Read
No Deal Brexit still a likely option if opposition parties fail to support a new referendum
15/09/2019

Canada’s normally pro-UK ‘Globe and Mail’ summed up the prevailing external view of Brexit las...

Read
China’s renminbi and the global ring of fire
01/09/2019

China’s property bubble puts it at the epicentre of the ring of fire © Reuters  China’s de...

Read
Oil market weakness suggests recession now more likely than Middle East war
11/08/2019

Oil markets remain poised between fear of recession and fear of a US attack on Iran. But gradually i...

Read
UK, EU27 and EEA businesses need to start planning for a No Deal Brexit on 31 October
28/07/2019

New UK premier, Boris Johnson, said last week that the UK must leave the EU by 31 October, “do or ...

Read
London house prices edge closer to a tumble
21/07/2019

After the excitement of Wimbledon tennis and a cricket World Cup final, Londoners were back to their...

Read

Market Intelligence

ICIS provides market intelligence that help businesses in the energy, petrochemical and fertilizer industries.

Learn more

Analytics

Across the globe, ICIS consultants provide detailed analysis and forecasting for the petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets.

Learn more

Specialist Services

Find out more about how our specialist consulting services, events, conferences and training courses can help your teams.

Learn more

ICIS Insight

From our news service to our thought-leadership content, ICIS experts bring you the latest news and insight, when you need it.

Learn more