2010 was a record year for BASF and the company has also moved forward in its goal of expanding its leading position:
- Its portfolio has been further optimized through the integration of the Ciba activities and the acquisition of Cognis. In the styrenics business, BASF is making good progress in bringing together its activities with those of Ineos in the Styrolution joint venture to create added value.
- Examples for investments in growth markets are the further expansion of the company’s Verbund site in Nanjing, China, and plans for new specialty chemical plants in Malaysia.
- BASF is securing its future by further increasing its investment in research and development.
The good numbers reflect BASF’s growing momentum. The capital market also recognizes this. BASF’s share price reached an all-time high in December 2010 and rose by more than 37% in the course of the year. With dividends reinvested, the increase was almost 43%. BASF shares outperformed the stock markets worldwide.
At the company’s Annual Press Conference, Dr. Jürgen Hambrecht, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, said, “ We achieved record sales and earnings in 2010. In the chemicals business, in particular, we were able to take advantage of the strong economic recovery in 2010, which was more dynamic than we all initially expected."
Positive impulses from all regions contributed to the double-digit sales growth. Compared with 2009, total sales rose 26% to reach €63.9 billion. Income from operations (EBIT) before special items increased 68% to €8.1 billion. In 2010, BASF again earned a premium on its cost of capital with a record premium of €3.5 billion.
The business environment was also favorable in the fourth quarter of 2010. Sales rose 25% versus the same quarter in 2009 and with €16.4 billion, they were the highest of any quarter in 2010. However at €1.8 billion, EBIT before special items was below the level of the previous quarters.
This was due to in particular higher provisions for the long-term incentive program as a result of the strong increase in BASF’s year-end share price, a provision for the special payment of €50 million to employees throughout the world in appreciation for their excellent crisis management over the past two years, and one-time costs for accelerated maintenance and restructuring measures in various divisions in order to allow for a good start in 2011.
Overall, this resulted in one-time costs of over €200 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Hambrecht said: “BASF has had a very strong start to 2011. However, we are concerned about Libya. Overall, we are optimistic for the first quarter and the year as a whole. One positive result of this is that the total number of BASF employees will increase by about 2,900 in the current year. The focus is on Asia, but we also plan to hire an additional 800 employees in Germany, thereof approximately 500 at the Ludwigshafen site.”