In its third quarter, 2008, BASF SE sales rose by 13% to €15.8 billion. Adjusted for currency effects, sales grew by 18%. All operating divisions increased prices, and volumes rose in almost all segments. BASF also increased earnings in most operating segments by 7%—despite further increases in raw material costs, declining demand from important customer industries and the hurricanes on the U.S. Gulf Coast, which alone reduced earnings by more than $100 million.
"The impact of the global financial crisis on the real economy is speeding up and hitting harder," said Jürgen Hambrecht, chairman of the board of executive directors, BASF SE. "The economic skid marks can no longer be ignored. The decline in demand in important markets, stockpiling by our customers and the fall in oil prices are all signs of a recessionary trend that is likely to sharpen in 2009."
Worldwide, BASF is responding to declining demand by adjusting capacity utilization rates and bringing forward maintenance-related shutdowns. In addition to ongoing activities to reduce costs, the company launched a new efficiency program in October 2008 with the goal of increasing operational excellence and effectiveness.
The performance products segment posted a 5% increase in sales. Prices were raised substantially, in particular in the care chemicals division. EBIT before special items rose significantly thanks to the strong performance of care chemicals and reduced fixed costs in all divisions.
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