Luwigshafen, Germany - In BASF SE's first quarter results, its Plastics business showed a "drastic" decline in sales of 39 percent to Euro 1463 million ($1940 million).
The polyurethanes business had sales of Euro 866 million for Q1, a 35-percent decline from the figure of Euro 1326 million for Q1 2008, while performance polymers showed an even bigger decline, of 44 percent, to Euro 597 million from Euro 1064 million.
BASF said this decline was mainly due to "substantially lower volumes compared with Q1 2008." Earnings in plastics also declined considerably and were slightly negative - in particular, as a result of low margins and high costs of idle capacity in the Performance Polymers division, the group said.
Demand for chemical products has declined further since the start of 2009: "There is currently no sign of a reversal of this trend and we do not consider temporary topping up of inventories in some regions and industries to be signs of a sustainable upturn," said Jürgen Hambrecht, chairman.