BASF AG reported first-quarter net income of 1.029 billion euros (approximately $1.363 billion), a sharp increase from 375 million euros for the first quarter of 2009. Sales rose 26.5%, to 15.454 billion euros ($20.470 billion).
The company’s Functional Solutions segment, which includes construction chemicals and coatings, reported first-quarter sales of 2.090 billion euros ($2.768 billion), a 33% increase from 2009. Operating income before interest taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) was 202 million euros ($268 million), compared to 47 million euros for the first quarter of 2009. Coatings sales were 594 million euros ($787 million), a 27% increase from 2009, while construction chemicals sales declined 4%, to 432 million euros ($572 million).
The company said coatings sales rose as a result of stronger demand in the automotive industry and the strength of architectural coatings sales in South America. The business environment in the construction industry “remained difficult in almost all regions,” with sales down from a year earlier, the company said.
The company said sales and earnings benefited from “renewed demand from almost all customer industries,” with strong demand in Asia and South America and a “slowly recovering” North America.
Regionally, overall company sales rose 12% in Europe, 55% in the U.S., 77% in Asia, and 26% in South America, Africa, and the Middle East.
Commenting on the outlook for the year as a whole, Chairman Jürgen Hambrecht said the company anticipates continued improvement despite a recovery that remains “shaky.”
“Risks result mainly from the continuing financial and debt crisis, which is intensifying in some areas, the winding down of national stimulus programs, volatile raw materials markets, excess capacities, growing geopolitical tensions, and protectionism,” Hambrecht said.