Ludwigshafen, Germany -- For the first quarter of 2012, BASF's sales were higher than in "the very good first quarter of the previous year," rising 6 percent to Euro 20.6 billion ($27.2 billion). Operating income (EBIT) before special items decreased 7 percent to €2.5 billion, slightly below Q1 2011.
"Increased raw material costs could not be fully passed on in all business areas, which put pressure on our margins. Our Oil & Gas and Agricultural Solutions segments increased their earnings significantly," said BASF chairman Dr Kurt Bock, at the Annual Shareholders' Meeting in Mannheim.
In its plastics business, which includes polyurethanes, BASF's sales of Euro 2768 million were 4 percent down compared with the first quarter of 2011. Higher prices and currency effects made a positive contribution to sales development; sales volumes were weaker.
BASF said that lower margins in its plastics division led to "a significant decline in earnings" with EBIT before special items down 44 percent at Euro 219 million. BASF also noted that scheduled maintenance of its MDI and TDI (methylene diphenyl and toluene diisocyanate) plants in Geismar, Louisiana, negatively impacted earnings in polyurethanes.