The Cognis businesses acquired in December 2010 made a significant contribution to this substantial sales growth. The earthquake off the coast of Japan and its aftermath as well as the tense political situation in North Africa have not yet had a significant impact on BASF’s business.
“Despite strong increases in raw materials costs, income from operations before special items rose by 40% to €2.7 billion,” said Dr. Jürgen Hambrecht, Chairman of BASF’s Board of Executive Directors at the Annual Meeting in the Congress Center Rosengarten in Mannheim, Germany. Hambrecht and Dr. John Feldmann are retiring from the BASF’s Board of Executive Directors at the end of the Annual Meeting. At that time, the new Board led by Dr. Kurt Bock will take office.
Compared with the first quarter of 2010, sales volumes rose in nearly all segments. As a result of the situation in Libya, oil production was suspended at the end of February 2011; this led to a reduction in oil production volumes in the Oil & Gas segment. In the Agricultural Solutions segment, prices declined slightly; all other segments reported price increases.
Income from operations (EBIT) increased by 39% to €2.6 billion compared with the first quarter of the previous year. EBITDA rose by €738 million to €3.4 billion. The EBITDA margin rose to 17.4% (first quarter of 2010: 17.0%).
The financial result was €830 million, an improvement of €910 million compared with the same period of the previous year. This was due to the special item of €887 million that resulted from the sale of the company’s stake in K+S Aktiengesellschaft. Overall, special items in income before taxes and minority interests amounted to €705 million.
Income before taxes and minority interests rose by €1.6 billion in the first quarter of 2011 to €3.4 billion. At 24.7%, the tax rate was lower than in the first quarter of 2010. This decline was mainly attributable to the lower share of earnings from the highly-taxed Oil & Gas segment.
Net income increased by €1.4 billion to €2.4 billion. Earnings per share were €2.62 in the first quarter of 2011 compared with €1.12 in the same period of 2010. Adjusted for special items and amortization of intangible assets, earnings per share amounted to €1.94 (first quarter of 2010: €1.32).
At the end of the first quarter of 2011, BASF shares traded at €61.03, an increase of 2.2% compared with the closing price at the end of 2010. The BASF stock thus performed slightly better than the German stock index DAX 30, which rose by 1.8% during the same period.