In the Functional Materials & Solutions segment, sales in the fourth quarter rose by 8% to €4.4 billion due to higher volumes and positive currency effects. EBIT before special items decreased by €18 million to €220 million. For the full year, sales rose 3% to €17.7 billion due to significantly higher sales volumes – especially of products for the automotive industry. The increase was curbed by negative currency effects. Prices were stable overall. EBIT before special items rose by €127 million to €1.2 billion through considerable increases in the Catalysts and Coatings divisions.
In the fourth quarter sales in the Agricultural Solutions segment increased by 25% to €1.1 billion, mainly due to higher sales volumes. EBIT before special items grew by €56 million to €123 million. Full-year sales were €5.4 billion and exceeded the level of 2013 by 4% despite negative currency effects. This was largely due to robust business in Europe and North America as well as greater demand for fungicides and herbicides. Yet the drop in prices for agricultural products that resulted from the previous year’s successful harvests put a considerable strain on the business. Negative currency effects, margin declines due to a less favorable product mix, and higher expenditures for research and development as well as for production and distribution all led to a decrease in EBIT before special items of €113 million to €1.1 billion. BASF nevertheless achieved the second-best full-year earnings in the Agricultural Solutions segment to date.
In the Oil & Gas segment, considerably higher volumes in the fourth quarter could not compensate for significantly lower oil and gas prices. Sales declined by 3% to €4.0 billion. At €347 million, EBIT before special items was €155 million below the same period of the previous year. Full-year sales grew by 2% to €15.1 billion in 2014, mainly through higher volumes in the natural gas trading business. Sharply falling oil and gas prices weakened sales growth. In the Exploration & Production business sector, the activities in Norway acquired from Statoil led to positive portfolio effects. EBIT before special items declined by €61 million to €1.8 billion as a result of slightly smaller contributions from both business sectors. Net income declined by €266 million to €1.5 billion.
Sales in Other in the fourth quarter fell by 37% to €700 million. EBIT before special items improved by €86 million to minus €28 million. Full-year sales decreased by 14% to €3.6 billion. This was predominantly because of lower plant availability after a plant outage at the Ellba C.V. joint operation in Moerdijk, Netherlands. EBIT before special items improved by €52 million to minus €566 million. The reversal of provisions for the long-term incentive (LTI) program and an improvement in foreign currency results not assigned to the segments were partly offset by lower earnings contributions from other businesses.
BASF increases earnings in full year 2014