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                BASF Group’s important figures in Q1 2019.
                BASF Group’s important figures in Q1 2019.

                BASF Group recently announced its financial figures in Q1 2019. The Group sales rose by 3% year on year to 16.2 billion. Compared with Q1 2018, income from operations (EBIT) before special items declined by 549 million to 1.7 billion.

                “As expected, this is primarily due to the considerably lower contributions from the Materials and Chemicals segments. In these segments, we had exceptionally high isocyanates margins and strong cracker margins in the first quarter of the previous year,” said Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE.

                Global economic growth in the first quarter of 2019 was shaped by geopolitical developments and trade conflicts, especially between the United States and China. The generally subdued market sentiment was reflected in the wait-and-see attitude of many customers. Consequently, BASF Group experienced weakening demand from key customer industries, especially the automotive sector.

                Business development in the segments

                Sales in the Chemicals segment [comprising Petrochemicals and Intermediates] declined by 13% compared with Q1 2018 to 2.5 billion. The Petrochemicals division in particular saw a considerable decline in sales, while the Intermediates division recorded a slight decrease. Sales development was driven by lower volumes and prices in both divisions.

                In the Materialssegment [comprising Performance Materials and Monomers], sales of 2.9 billion were down by 15% compared with Q1 2018. The sales decline was seen in both the Monomers and Performance Materials divisions and was primarily due to lower isocyanates prices in the Monomers division.

                In the Industrial Solutions segment [comprising Dispersions & Pigments and Performance Chemicals], sales of 2.2 billion were 2% lower than in the prior-year quarter. Sales in the Dispersions & Pigments division were on a level with the first quarter of 2018, while sales in the Performance Chemicals division declined slightly. The year-on-year decrease was primarily due to the transfer of BASF’s paper and water chemicals business, which was previously reported under Performance Chemicals, to the Solenis group.

                Compared with the first quarter of 2018, sales in the Surface Technologies segment [comprising Catalysts, Coatings and Construction Chemicals] increased by 13% to 3.6 billion. There was particularly strong sales growth in the Catalysts division. Sales also rose considerably in the Construction Chemicals division and were on a level with the prior-year quarter in the Coatings division. The sales increase was attributable to higher prices in all divisions as well as positive currency effects and volumes growth in the Catalysts and Construction Chemicals divisions.

                Outlook for 2019 confirmed

                BASF’s expectations for the global economic environment in 2019 remain unchanged:

                • Growth in gross domestic product: 2.8%
                • Growth in industrial production: 2.7%
                • Growth in chemical production: 2.7%
                • Average euro/dollar exchange rate of $1.15 per euro
                • Average Brent blend oil price for the year of $70 per barrel

                BASF confirmed the sales and earnings forecast for the BASF Group made in the BASF Report 2018 and expected slight sales growth as well as a slight increase in EBIT before special items, which is likely to be at the lower end of the range of 1% to 10%. Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) is expected to be slightly higher than the cost of capital percentage, with ROCE slightly lower than in 2018.

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