Falling Q1 profit fails to dent BASF's confidence


Frankfurt am Main (AFP)

German chemicals giant BASF said Friday it remains confident of meeting its forecasts for the full year, even as it reported falling revenues and profits in the first quarter.

Net profit at the group slipped 2.0 percent year-on-year, to just under 1.7 billion euros ($2.0 billion) between January and March, in line with analysts' expectations.

But BASF increased operating, or underlying profit 3.0 percent, to 2.5 billion euros, while revenues fell 1.0 percent to 16.6 billion.

Overall "we have had a good start to the year," chief executive Kurt Bock said, as the group blamed "significantly negative currency effects" that counteracted higher prices and sales volumes in all its divisions for the fall in revenues.

The chemicals and oil and gas divisions both defied the currency headwinds to book sales growth, while the group's more specialised units -- performance products, functional materials and agrichemicals -- all fell back.

Departing CEO Bock is set to be replaced by his deputy Martin Brudermueller after the group's annual general meeting Friday.

Looking ahead to the full year, the group confirmed its forecast that it would "slightly increase" revenue and operating profit adjusted for special items, but predicted a "slight decline" in operating profit.

"This is ambitious because 2017 was a very good year," Bock said.