Ludwigshafen, Germany - BASF has released its full financial figures for the third quarter of 2009 (Q3). The German chemical company reported some stabilisation in Q3 with sales up 2 percent to Euro 12 798 million ($18 865 million) compared to Q2, but down 19 percent on the same period last year.
BASF's Plastics division, which contains the company's polyurethane activities, reported sales down by 19.8 percent to Euro 1967, compared to Q3 2008, while earnings rose 12.9 percent to Euro 333 million, a 29 Oct company statement said.
As a result of lower prices, BASF said sales revenues in its polyurethanes division were lower than in the same period last year, with business in the automotive and construction industries remaining difficult - although the company did not give any specific figures. Both MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) and TDI (toluene diisocyanate) were subject to "strong price competition," which resulted in lower margins, the statement said.
BASF's PU system solutions business posted higher earnings despite a decline in sales and overall, compared with Q2, polyurethanes "sales and earnings increased significantly, especially in Asia," BASF said.
"In this unprecedented downturn, we have demonstrated decisive action in the form of strict crisis management, tailoring production to demand, idling plants and introducing flexible working time arrangements," said BASF chairman Jürgen Hambrecht.
"In the past three months our business has stabilised at a low level. Positive impulses are coming from Asia, especially from China, and from parts of South America," he said, adding that "Europe and North America remain weak."
The integration of Swiss chemical company Ciba to expand BASF's plastics and coatings portfolio is "making rapid progress," the company said. By the end of 2009 BASF expects to have closed 33 out of 56 Ciba "non-production-relevant" sites.
The speed of the integration means a larger proportion of the related costs will now be incurred in 2009 and so BASF expects the integration to have a negative impact of around Euro 800 million on earnings. Around 3800 positions will be cut by the end of 2010, the statement said.
"Overall, there is much to suggest that the worst is behind us. After a steep plunge, we are now climbing gradually out of the trough," Hambrecht said. "The recovery will be slow and uneven," the BASF chairman concluded. (RD)