Ludwigshafen, Germany -- BASF says it has had "a powerful start to 2011, particularly noting that plant utilisation rates are good. Sales grew by 25 percent to Euro 19 400 million, with the Cognis businesses bought in December 2010 making a significant contribution to this growth.
Demand in the chemicals business (Chemicals, Plastics, Performance Products, Functional Solutions) increased compared with the same quarter of the previous year.
"Despite strong increases in raw materials costs, income from operations before special items rose by 40 percent to Euro 2700 million," said Dr Juergen Hambrecht, BASF chairman, at the Annual Meeting in the Congress Center Rosengarten in Mannheim, Germany.
Both Hambrecht and Dr John Feldmann are retiring from BASF's board, the company noted.
Sales in BASF's Plastics division were Euro 2788 million, a 27 percent rise on those for Q1 20101. Sales of polyurethanes made up Euro 1479 million, a 21-percent increase. Income (EBITDA) for the plastics business for Q1 was Euro 497 million, a 30-percent rise over that of the previous year.
In its polyurethanes business, BASF said sales volumes improved in all areas with positive currency effects and slightly higher prices contributing to substantial sales growth overall.
Higher raw materials costs could only be partially passed on to customers and this had a negative impacy on margins. Earnings were slightly above the level of Q1 2010 since improved demand more than offset the rise in raw materials costs.