Falling Oil Prices Mar BASF Earnings
Declining oil and gas prices are also taking their toll on BASF, world’s largest chemical producer. The Ludwigshafen-based group’s unaudited figures for full year 2015 show income from operations (EBIT) of €6.2 billion, down 18% against 2014. Previously, only slightly lower EBIT had been expected.
The brunt of the downturn was borne by the Oil & Gas segment and reflects the strong decline in oil and gas prices in recent months. The 2015 balance sheet is expected to show an impairment charge of around €600 million for this effect. As BASF expects prices for oil and gas to remain at a low level in 2016, it has reduced its assumptions for sales of these products in 2016 and subsequent years.
BASF said full-year group EBIT before special items will be within its forecast range of €6.7 billion, down 8% year-on-year. Here, again, the deterioration is blamed largely on the “significantly lower earnings” in the Oil & Gas and Chemicals segments in last year’s fourth quarter. The weaker performance of the Chemicals segment is attributed mainly to lower margins in the Petrochemicals division.
According to the preliminary figures, full-year group sales declined by 5% to €70.4 billion, The slacker performance here is said to be due to the lower revenues from natural gas trading and storage activities, which were divested as part of an asset swap with Russian gas giant Gazprom completed at the end of 2015 but financially retroactive to Apr. 1, 2013.
Final figures for 2015 will be reported at BASF’s annual press conference in Ludwigshafen on Feb. 26.