Ludwigshafen, Germany - BASF AG has posted a 20 percent rise in half-year sales to €24837 million and expects the figure to top €50000 million for the year.
The German chemical giant reported half-year earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of €3800 million, up 17 percent from the same period last year.
Sales of polyurethanes contributed to this growth, rising by 17 percent in the half to €2388 million due to ''strong demand, in particular in North America'', the company said.
''Earnings [in the polyurethane segment] were increased slightly compared with the previous year's high level.''
For the second quarter of 2006, BASF posted sales of €12300 million, up 16 percent, and EBIT of €1900 million, up 15 percent.
BASF chairman Jurgen Hambrecht said the company expected ''significantly higher'' sales and earnings for 2006 than last year.
''In view of the strong business performance in the first half of 2006, we remain optimistic for the full year,'' he said.
''Our acquisitions will contribute to sales in the second half, bringing total sales to considerably more than €50 billion [€50000 million].''
So far this year, BASF took over Degussa's construction chemicals business, Engelhard Corp, Johnson Polymer and CropDesign.
''These portfolio expansions are important elements of our strategy of making BASF even more resilient to cyclicality,'' Hambrecht said.
''The integration of the new businesses is proceeding smoothly.''
The company said record raw material costs have increased pressure on its margins, leading to price increases in many product lines.
In its chemical division, BASF reported half-year sales of €4682 million, up 22 percent, and EBIT of €580 million, down 25 percent due costs incurred from the integration of Engelhard Corp.
Half-year sales in its plastics division rose by 9 percent to €6259 million while EBIT grew by 18 percent to €645 million.
Sales for the half rose by 24 percent in Europe, 10 percent in North America, 22 percent in the Asia Pacific region and 7 percent in South America, Africa and the Middle East.