2010 record year for BASF
In the Chemicals segment, sales were far above the 2009 level thanks to higher prices and volumes. For some products, there were temporary supply shortages. Higher raw materials costs could largely be passed on in the sales prices. The Petrochemicals division benefited particularly from this development. There was a strong improvement in income from operations in the segment thanks to increased margins, especially for basic products, and higher volumes.
The Plastics segment also posted a strong rise in sales compared with the previous year. The economic upswing in key customer industries led to a noticeable revival of demand. The automotive industry in particular recovered more quickly than expected. Capacity utilization rates at the plants were good. While prices in the Polyurethanes division remained broadly stable, they rose in the Performance Polymers division mainly as a result of higher raw materials costs. With margins generally stable, there was a strong improvement in income from operations.
The Performance Products segment benefited from the economic recovery as well as the quick and successful integration of Ciba and the restructuring of the combined businesses. Demand and sales grew in all divisions, due in part to inventory restocking along the entire value-adding chain, especially in the first half of the year. While special items resulting from the integration of Ciba had a negative impact on the segment’s earnings in 2009, in 2010 measures to reduce fixed costs and the realization of synergies led to a strong improvement in income from operations.
Sales increase in all regions
Sales in Europe grew by 16% compared with the previous year to reach €35.2 billion. In the chemicals business, sales at €19.4 billion even exceeded the pre-crisis level. Compared with 2009, this was an increase of 32%. This development shows that BASF has emerged from the economic crisis even stronger than before in Europe. At €5.2 billion, income from operations was more than twice as high as in the previous year. This was mainly due to the excellent earnings in the chemicals business.
In North America, sales rose by 41% to €13.2 billion, or 34% in local currency terms. Nearly all segments posted considerable gains in sales volumes and sales compared with the previous year. Income from operations in 2010 reached a new record of €1.1 billion, representing an increase of €604 million over the previous year.
Sales in Asia Pacific increased by 46% to €11.6 billion, or 35% in local currency terms. Sales increased in all segments, particularly in the chemicals business. Income from operations reached a record €1.3 billion, up €768 million from the previous year. Asia is more and more becoming a stable contributor to BASF’s success.
Sales in South America, Africa, Middle East were far above the 2009 level, increasing by 31% to €3.8 billion. In local currency terms, sales were 19% higher than 2009. Compared with the previous year, income from operations declined by €104 million to €177 million. This was due to one-time expenses for valuation adjustments on receivables related to long-term supply agreements.