FRANKFURT -- BASF (IW1000/33), the world's biggest chemicals company, said Tuesday that profits fell sharply last year on weak chemicals demand and higher taxes, but it expected sales and earnings to grow again this year.
BASF said its net profit tumbled by 21.2% to 4.879 billion euros (US$6.4 billion) in 2012.
The drop was partially due to "significantly higher taxes" on increased earnings in its oil and gas division, the coompany said.
In addition, gains from the sale of the group's shares in fertilizer maker K+S in 2011 had been "predominantly tax-free," it explained.
But while BASF clocked up new records in its oil and gas and agricultural divisions, "development in our chemicals business was weaker than in 2011," said chief executive Kurt Bock.
Underlying profit, as measured by earnings before interest and tax and special items, rose by 5.1% to 8.881 billion euros and sales grew by 7.1% to 78.729 billion euros.
Looking ahead, Bock said BASF "aims to grow again in 2013 and exceed the 2012 levels in sales and EBIT before special items."
The group would aim to "increase sales and earnings in all operating segments. The expected increase in demand, together with measures to improve operational excellence and raise efficiency, will contribute to this," the CEO said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013