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German chemical company BASF reports decline in Q1 earnings due to coronavirus
BERLIN, April 30, 2020 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Copyright 2020 XINHUA NEWS AGENCY

The German chemical giant BASF SE's earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) before special items decreased by six percent to 1.6 billion euros (1.74 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 year-on-year, the company said on Thursday.

The decline in EBIT was mainly attributable to significantly lower contributions from the chemicals and materials segments, according to BASF.

While revenues still increased by seven percent to 16.8 billion euros, mainly due to "volumes growth," the company's net income fell by 37 percent to 885 million euros.

"The first quarter of 2020 was not a normal quarter," said Martin Brudermueller, chair of the company's Board of Executive Directors. "The same will be true for the second quarter and likely for the entire year."

"Not all of our customer industries are equally affected by the pandemic," added Brudermueller during the presentation of the Q1 results.

Pharmaceuticals, detergents and cleaners, as well as food products, are experiencing additional demand today. At BASF, this became "clearly evident" through incoming orders for the company's nutrition and care segment. Demand for the company's farm supplies was "not really affected."

Other industries, however, were "intensely experiencing" the consequences of the pandemic, such as production shutdowns and supply chain disruptions, BASF noted.

The transportation and automotive sector is seeing the strongest declines right now. "This decline in demand from our most important customer industry is currently hitting us hardest," stressed Brudermueller.

For 2020, specific statements on the future development of revenues and earnings could not be made at present, BASF noted. It is currently "impossible" to reliably estimate both the length and the further spread of the coronavirus pandemic as well as future measures to contain it.

Following the announcement, shares of BASF decreased by around four percent in early trading on Thursday.

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