LUDWIGSHAFEN - German chemicals giant BASF said Friday it met its 2014 earnings targets but the outlook for 2015 was uncertain in view of volatile oil prices and currency developments.
"We achieved our goal for 2014: we increased earnings, despite the disappointing economic development in Europe," chief executive Kurt Bock told the group's annual earnings news conference.
"We grew profitably. We further strengthened our chemicals business and in turn improved our margins," Bock said.
BASF said its net profit grew by 7.6% to $5.8 billion in 2014.
"We achieved our goal for 2014: we increased earnings, despite the disappointing economic development in Europe." Kurt Bock, CEO
Underlying or operating profit was up 6.5% at 7.626 billion euros while sales edged up 0.5% to 74.326 billion euros.
BASF said it planned to increase its dividend to shareholders to 2.80 euros per share for 2014 from 2.70 euros a year earlier.
Turning to the current year, BASF chief executive Bock said the outlook for 2015 was "subject to significant uncertainty. Oil and raw material prices are volatile, as are currencies; the emerging markets are growing more slowly; and the global economy is being dampened by geopolitical conflict."
"The global economy will continue to face substantial risks. In this volatile and challenging environment, we want to perform well and increase sales slightly in 2015," Bock said.
Underlying profit before extraordinary items would "likely match the previous year's level," he said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015