BERLIN, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- German multinational chemicals giant BASF confirmed its financial targets for the full fiscal year 2020 on Wednesday as the company's earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) before special items reached 581 million euros (681.4 million U.S. dollars) in the third quarter (Q3).
"This significant increase was mainly driven by good business development in September," said Martin Brudermueller, chairman of BASF's Board of Executive Directors.
Sales of BASF in Q3 decreased by five percent year-on-year to 13.8 billion euros, falling by almost a third in the company's German market. Sales in Asia increased by ten percent, "largely attributable to higher volumes in almost all segments" and higher price levels, according to BASF.
In China, the pace of growth slowed slightly after strong gains in the second quarter of 2020, but remained at a "high level overall," according to BASF. Production in China was already "well above" the level of the third quarter of 2019.
While EBIT before special items was up on the previous quarter, it fell drastically by almost 50 percent compared to last year, mainly due to a "considerably lower contribution from the chemicals segment," BASF stated.
The company recorded losses of 2.1 billion euros after a positive net income of 911 million euros last year. BASF noted that despite the recovery of the global industry in Q3 from the "sharp downturn in the previous quarter," global production levels were still down three percent.
BASF expects a "slight decline in sales compared with the previous year," mainly caused by "weaker demand as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic." "Weaker demand" and "pressure on margins" would continue.
Following the announcement, BASF was among the biggest losers in the DAX, Germany's index of the country's 30 largest listed companies, declining by around seven percent in late trading on Wednesday. (1 euro = 1.17 U.S. dollars)