Chemicals giant BASF SE said Feb. 27 it had hit its goal for 2014, increasing earnings, “despite the disappointing economic development in Europe, following the publication of its latest financial figures.”
Overall, sales were up 0.5 percent to 74.3 billion euros ($83.18 billion), with earnings before interest and tax and special items (EBIT) up 4 percent to 7.4 billion euros ($8.3 billion).
This was primarily the result of a larger contribution from the chemicals business, comprising the chemicals, performance products and functional materials and solutions segments.
In the fourth quarter of 2014, sales dipped by 0.6 percent to 18 billion euros ($20.1 billion).
Kurt Bock, chairman of the board of executive directors of BASF, said: “We grew profitably. We further strengthened our chemicals business and in turn improved our margins. We have our costs firmly under control. This is an outstanding achievement of the entire BASF team.
“We stand by our dividend policy and will propose a dividend of 2.80 euros ($3.13) per share at the annual shareholders' meeting,” said Bock. This represented an increase of 3.7 percent vs. the previous year. Based on the year-end share price for 2014, BASF shares again offer a high dividend yield of 4 percent.
For 2015, the company is forecasting a 4.2 percent growth in global chemical production, an average euro/dollar exchange rate of $1.20 per euro and an average Brent crude oil price of $60 to $70 per barrel.
“The outlook for the 2015 business year is subject to significant uncertainty. Oil and raw material prices are volatile, as are currencies; the emerging markets are growing more slowly; and the global economy is being dampened by geopolitical conflict,” Bock said. “For 2015, we nevertheless anticipate somewhat stronger growth in the global economy, industrial production and the chemical industry than in 2014.
“The global economy will continue to face substantial risks. In this volatile and challenging environment, we want to perform well and increase sales slightly in 2015.”