Ludwigshafen, Germany – Earnings before interest at BASF could be down 15-20% on 2017, the company warned in early December.
Faster-than-expected falls in the TDI price, less-profitable steam cracking, lower demand from Chinese car makers, and less water in the Rhine are all cited as reasons in a trading statement. The statement was issued on 10 December.
BASF said the low Rhine in Q4 will take around EUR 200 m from earnings. In the third quarter of 2018, this was limited to around EUR 50 m.
The company added that its business with the automotive industry has continued to decline since the third quarter of 2018. 'In particular, demand from customers in China slowed significantly,' it said. 'The trade conflict between the United States and China contributed to this slowdown.'
The company made its forecast following trading numbers from November 2018. Earlier in the year, it had suggested that earnings could be down by as much as 10%.