BASF says sees chemicals industry growth above GDP
Tue Jan 11, 2005 10:02 AM ET
FRANKFURT, Jan 11 (Reuters) - BASF AG expects the global chemicals industry to grow faster than gross domestic product this year, accompanied by high capacity utilisation, the world's top chemicals company by sales said on Tuesday.
Risks for 2005 include oil and oil-related raw material price volatility, currency fluctuations, migration of customer industries, economic developments in China and disruptive global events, according to slides of a presentation by BASF Chief Financial Officer Kurt Bock at an investor event in New York.
BASF said, for its part, that it aimed to maintain profitable growth this year and start up its Nanjing site in China.
The Nanjing site is due to start commercial operations in the first half of the year.
BASF said it would have achieved $175 million in cost cuts in the NAFTA region by 2004, on the way to planned cuts of $250 million by 2006.
BASF reiterated it saw its capital expenditure on the level of or slightly below depreciation. Planned investments for the 2004-2008 period are projected to decrease to 8.3 billion euros from 12.0 billion in 1999-2003.
BASF, which makes a range of chemicals from plastics to pesticides, is a bellwether for the European chemicals industry.
In November, it reported that third-quarter earnings before interest, tax and special items soared by more than two and a half times, underlining a continuing recovery in the global chemicals market.
BASF shares were down 1.43 percent to 51.77 euros at 1440 GMT, slightly underperforming a 1.1 percent fall in Frankfurt's blue chip DAX index.
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