Strong Asian demand helps BASF post strong first quarter profit

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The world's leading chemical company, BASF, posted Thursday a better than expected first quarter profit owing in particular to strong demand from Asian economies.

BASF said net profit leapt by 174 percent from the first quarter of 2009 to 1.03 billion euros (1.36 billion dollars) on sales that climbed by 26 percent to 15.5 billion euros.

Financial analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected net profit to jump by 134 percent and sales to come in with a 19 percent increase.

BASF did not raise its full year targets, but it still expects an increase in sales and a marked increase in core earnings, which reached 3.6 billion euros in 2009, a statement said.

All of the group's regions posted double digit increases in first quarter sales, and in Asia they leapt by 73 percent to 2.5 billion euros.

Industrial demand has rebounded for BASF's products, which include generalist and specialty chemicals for the electronic, electrical and automotive industries as well as agricultural and petroleum products.

The German group's US rival, Dow Chemical, posted on Wednesday an 15-fold leap in net profit to 552 million dollars, also exceeding market expectations.

© 2010 AFP

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