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BASF increases earnings in 4th quarter and full year 2014.

Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE said at the company's Annual Press Conference in Ludwigshafen: "We achieved our goal for 2014. We increased earnings--despite the disappointing economic development in Europe. 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."

In the fourth quarter of 2014, BASF Group sales of 18.0 billion [euro] almost matched the level of the previous year (fourth quarter of 2013: 18.1 billion [euro]). Sales volumes increased by one percent.

The Catalysts division as well as the Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas segments mainly contributed to this increase. Positive currency effects (plus two percent) could not compensate for the mainly oil-price related decline in sales prices (minus four percent). Income from operations (EBIT) before special items rose by 40 million [euro] to 1.5 billion [euro] (fourth quarter of 2013: 1.4 billion [euro]). EBIT before special items rose significantly in the Chemicals and Agricultural Solutions segments compared with the same period of the previous year.

At 74.3 billion [euro], sales in 2014 matched the level of the previous year (2013: 74.0 billion [euro]). Sales volumes increased in all segments in 2014. Overall volumes grew by 4%. Prices decreased by 3%, largely due to significant decreases in oil and gas prices. Negative currency effects dampened sales in almost all divisions.

EBIT before special items grew by 280 million [euro] to 7.4 billion [euro] in 2014. This was primarily the result of a larger contribution from the chemicals business comprising the Chemicals, Performance Products and Functional Materials & Solutions segments. EBIT was up 466 million [euro] from the previous year's level and reached 7.6 billion [euro]. Net income amounted to 5.2 billion [euro], exceeding the previous year's level of 4.8 billion [euro]. Earnings per share rose from 5.22 [euro] to 5.61 [euro]. Adjusted earnings per share were 5.44 [euro] compared with 5.31 [euro] in the previous year.

At 3.7 billion [euro], fourth-quarter sales in the Performance Products segment were slightly above the same period of the previous year. EBIT before special items was 217 million [euro] and thus at the same level as in the fourth quarter of 2013. For the full year, sales were down by 1% to 15.4 billion [euro]. Despite an increasingly gloomy market environment over the course of the year, BASF was able to increase sales volumes with stable prices and thus almost fully compensate for negative currency effects. EBIT before special items improved by 90 million [euro] to 1.5 billion [euro]. This was mainly because of the reduction in fixed costs due to restructuring and other measures.

In the Functional Materials & Solutions segment, sales in the fourth quarter rose by eight percent to 4.4 billion [euro] due to higher volumes and positive currency effects. EBIT before special items decreased by 18 million [euro] to 220 million [euro]. For the full year, sales rose three percent to 17.7 billion [euro] 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 [euro] to 1.2 billion [euro] through considerable increases in the Catalysts and Coatings divisions.

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 three percent to 4.0 billion [euro]. At 347 million [euro], EBIT before special items was 155 million [euro] below the same period of the previous year. Full-year sales grew by two percent to 15.1 billion [euro] 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 [euro] to 1.8 billion [euro] as a result of slightly smaller contributions from both business sectors. Net income declined by 266 million [euro] to 1.5 billion [euro].

Sales in Other in the fourth quarter fell by 37 percent to 700 million [euro]. EBIT before special items improved by 86 million [euro] to minus 28 million [euro]. Full-year sales decreased by 14 percent to 3.6 billion [euro]. 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 [euro] to minus 566 million [euro]. 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.
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Title Annotation:Financial News
Publication:Coatings World
Article Type:Financial report
Date:Mar 1, 2015
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