"Two thousand thirteen was again a demanding year, with a lot of headwind for our industry. Nevertheless, we achieved our goal: We sold more, worked more closely together with our customers and enhanced our portfolio," said Dr. Kurt Bock, chairman of the board of executive directors of BASF SE at the annual press conference in Ludwigshafen.
Net income totaled $6.5 billion (4.8 billion euros), slightly above the previous year's level. Earnings per share rose from $7.19 (5.25 euros) to $7.21 (5.27 euros). Adjusted earnings per share amounted to $7.35 (5.37 euros), down $0.36 (0.27 euros) under the previous year.
Specifically, 2013 chemical sales declined 5% to $23.2 billion (17.0 billion euros) on account of lower prices and negative currency effects.
Looking ahead, the company expects another difficult year in 2014.
"We do not expect strong tailwinds this year either. Nevertheless, we are cautiously optimistic with regards to global economic development. The world economy is expected to grow slightly faster in 2014 than in 2013, despite continuing volatility," said Bock.
For 2014, BASF assumes the following economic conditions (previous year figures in parentheses):
• Global economic growth: +2.8% (+2.3%)
• Growth in global chemical production (without pharmaceuticals): +4.4% (+4.6%)
• An average euro/dollar exchange rate of $1.30 per euro ($1.33 per euro)
• An average oil price (Brent) of $110 per barrel ($109 per barrel)
"Overall, we expect to perform well in a market environment that remains challenging in 2014," added Bock. "We aim to increase our sales volumes excluding the effects of acquisitions and divestitures."