BASF in Ludwigshafen

The group suffered above all from the weak auto industry and the trade conflict between the United States and China.

(Photo: AFP)

Frankfurt BASF surprisingly increased earnings significantly in the fourth quarter. Adjusted operating profit (EBIT) increased by a good 23 percent to 765 million euros, as the chemical company announced on Friday. Analysts had expected an average increase to 655 million euros.

BASF was able to thank the significant growth in most business areas, especially in the agricultural division, which the group had expanded by taking over business from Bayer. However, sales fell by two percent to 14.686 billion euros due to lower prices and a decline in sales.

Last year, BASF suffered mainly from the weak auto economy and the trade conflict between the United States and China. That led to a drop in adjusted operating profit of almost 28 percent in 2019.

Now the coronavirus epidemic threatens new adversity. The Group expects the negative effects to have a significant impact, particularly in the first and second quarters. For the year as a whole, BASF expects sales to increase to EUR 60 to 63 (2019: 59.3) billion and an adjusted result of 4.2 to 4.8 (4.5) billion.

More: China forms the largest agrochemical company in the world

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