Ludwigshafen, Germany - BASF posted sales of €18.4 billion in the second quarter of 2013, up 3% from the same period last year. Earnings (EBIT) before special items fell 5%, totalling €1.8 billion. In the first half of the year, sales grew by 4% and earnings before special items by 3%, totalling €38.1 billion and €4 billion respectively.
In the functional materials and solutions business, which includes polyurethane systems and coatings, both volumes and prices increased, and sales rose by 2%, though currency effects reduced sales growth, the company said. Earnings before special items grew by €77 million, reaching €293 million, thanks to better margins.
In the chemicals division, which includes isocyanates in the monomer segment, sales decreased by 4% in what BASF called a "weak environment". Sales prices declined due to lower raw material costs, though volumes rose slightly. BASF noted that compared with the second quarter of 2012, earnings before special items fell by €106 million to €495 billion, mainly the result of weaker margins for caprolactam and polyamides.
"In light of the challenging conditions, our business performed well in the first half of 2013. Earnings rose considerably in the Functional Materials & Solutions segment," commented Kurt Bock, BASF chairman of the Board of Directors.
He added that the economic environment remains volatile, noting that the European economy shrinking slightly, "the Chinese growth engine is no longer running full power", and that the US is growing moderately.
"We are clearly feeling these effects and are doing everything we can to manoeuvre BASF successfully through this challenging environment, " Bock said.