BASF posts profit rise despite "turbulent times"


BASF posts profit rise despite
BASF, the world's largest chemicals group, said first quarter income rose 11 per cent to €2.4 billion (£1.9 billion) on strong oil and gas sales.

First quarter sales in the company's chemicals segment fell due to higher volumes and prices, but earnings fell from last year due to a decline in margins on some products and decreased plant availability.

Earnings per share rose to €2.48 (£1.98) from €2.08 (£1.66) in the first quarter of 2007, while sales rose by almost nine per cent to €15.9 billion (£12.68 billion).

Higher crude oil prices and increased natural gas production in the exploration and production business sector, as well as sales volume increases in the natural gas trading business sector, helped boost profits.

"Our long-term strategy is paying off. That's most apparent in turbulent times like the ones we're currently seeing in the financial markets," said BASF's chairman, Dr Jurgen Hambrecht.

BASF's strategy is not to try to achieve improvements over just a few quarters. Instead, we strive constantly to keep ahead of the global competition over the long term."

Dr Hambrecht said the company remains confident for full year 2008 and expects global economic growth and growth in chemical production, excluding pharmaceuticals, of 2.8 per cent.

BASF shares were up 1.1 per cent on morning trading.

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