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BASF Chemicals achieves double-digit sales growth in 2007
21
Feb '08
For BASF, 2007 was another record year. Thanks to organic growth and the very positive development of the acquired businesses, BASF posted sales of almost EUR 58 billion and income from operations (EBIT) before special items of more than EUR 7.6 billion in 2007.

"This is a great achievement," said Dr. Jürgen Hambrecht, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, at the company's Annual Press Conference in Ludwigshafen. "Our employees can be particularly proud of this great achievement because the economic challenges have increased in recent months." Hambrecht nevertheless remains confident with regard to the development of BASF's business in 2008.

In 2007, BASF earned its highest ever premium of EUR 2.9 billion on its cost of capital and again grew profitably and faster than the market. Sales rose by more than 10 percent. The operational integration of the acquired businesses is now complete and the activities contributed approximately EUR 3.6 billion to sales in 2007. Overall, EBIT before special items grew by approximately 5 percent.

At EUR 5.8 billion, cash provided by operating activities reached the previous year's very high level. "This solid operating cash flow and our healthy balance sheet are two of BASF's key strengths," said Dr. Kurt Bock, BASF's Chief Financial Officer.

In the fourth quarter of 2007, BASF slightly increased sales by almost 2 percent. EBIT declined by just over 3 percent, primarily due to low capacity utilization rates as a result of turnarounds of key plants that lasted longer than scheduled. Volume demand and the level of orders remained strong in the fourth quarter of 2007.

BASF is confident for 2008 and sets itself ambitious goals: "The first weeks of 2008 have run on smoothly from the past year for BASF. The level of orders remains strong and the capacity utilization rates of our plants are high. We therefore expect that BASF's business will also develop positively in 2008," said Hambrecht.

BASF is basing its business planning on the following assumptions:
• A moderate slowdown in global economic growth and global chemical production (excluding pharmaceuticals) to 2.8 percent
• Declining interest rates in the United States in the course of 2008 with moderate knock-on effects in Europe
• An average euro/dollar exchange rate of $1.45 per euro
• An average oil price of $78 per barrel for Brent crude in 2008


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