North American Crop Protection Sales Drive BASF Profit

BASF 1st half sales breakdown

BASF said first-half sales in its Agricultural Solutions business jumped 18% to $2.24 billion from a year ago, helped by contributions from last year’s Becker Underwood acquisition and strong North American and European crop protection sales.

“Our business developed very successfully in the Agricultural Solutions segment, particularly as a result of the good season in North America and Europe. We were able to raise sales volumes in all regions and indications with higher prices overall,” the company said in a statement.

Thanks also to the acquisition of Becker Underwood, sales easily surpassed the level of the second quarter of 2012, with volumes up 14% and prices 3% higher than a year ago.

“It was a very positive quarter in Europe despite the late start to the growing season,” the German company said, adding that it saw increased fungicide sales volumes particularly in France, Germany and Southern Europe.

North American results benefited from stronger demand for its Xemium fungicide and the herbicide Kixor, as well as an expanded offering due to its purchase of the biologicals heavyweight Becker Underwood in 2012.

Sales in Asia grew on the back of higher demand for fungicides in China and for herbicides in India, offset by negative currency effects from the weakening of the Japanese yen and Indian rupee against the euro.

In South America, higher demand for insecticides and for its F 500 fungicide led to a substantial sales increase.

“In light of the challenging conditions, our business performed well in the first half of 2013. Our business with crop protection products contributed substantially to sales and earnings growth,” said BASF Chairman Dr. Kurt Bock.

For its Agricultural Solutions unit, EBIT from operations rose 17% to $485 million from $414 million in the first half of the year-ago period.

Speaking more broadly about the company in terms of the macroeconomic environment, Bock said: “The economic environment is and remains volatile. The European economy is shrinking slightly. The Chinese growth engine is no longer running at full power. The United States is growing moderately. We are clearly feeling these effects and are doing everything we can to maneuver BASF successfully through this challenging environment.”