In an environment that continues to be shaped by the global economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Basf Group’s income from operations (Ebit) before special items rose considerably compared with the previous quarter: At 581 million euros in the third quarter of 2020, it was 355 million euros higher than in the second quarter of 2020. “This significant increase was mainly driven by good business development in September,” said Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Basf.
Basf Group sales of 13.8 billion euros were down slightly by 745 million euros compared with the third quarter of 2019. This was mainly driven by negative currency effects in all segments, but especially in the Agricultural Solutions and Surface Technologies segments. Lower volumes, particularly in the Chemicals segment due to the unplanned outage at the steam cracker in Port Arthur, Texas, also contributed to the sales decrease. Higher price levels overall, primarily due to higher precious metal prices in the Surface Technologies segment, had an offsetting effect. Portfolio effects, especially in the Materials segment from the acquisition of Solvay’s integrated polyamide business, likewise had a positive impact on sales. Compared with the second quarter of 2020, sales increased by 1.1 billion euros.
Ebit before special items declined considerably year on year, by 475 million euros to 581 million euros. This was mainly attributable to a considerably lower contribution from the Chemicals segment. Ebit before special items also declined considerably in the Nutrition & Care segment, Other, and in the Materials and Agricultural Solutions segments. The Industrial Solutions and Surface Technologies segments posted slight decreases.
Net income decreased to minus 2.1 billion euros, compared with €911 million in the prior-year quarter. Earnings per share amounted to minus 2.31 euros in the third quarter of 2020 (Q3 2019: 1 euro). Cash flows from operating activities amounted to 2.1 billion euros in the third quarter of 2020, 102 million euros above the figure for the prior-year quarter despite the 3 billion euros decline in net income. The decrease in net income was largely attributable to the non-cash-effective impairments. Free cash flow rose from 1.1 billion euros in the prior-year quarter to 1.4 billion euros as a result of higher cash flows from operating activities in conjunction with lower payments made for property, plant and equipment and intangible assets.
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