Oct.25 - BASF, the world's largest chemicals company by sales, beat expectations in the third quarter thanks to higher demand from carmakers for its catalytic converters and speciality chemicals. Hayley Platt reports.
15 percent is today's daily digit - that's the increase in BASF's third-quarter profit. The world's largest chemical company narrowly beat expectations with earnings of 1.69 billion euros. Total sales rose 1.5 percent to 17.7 million euros, volumnes were also up by 6 percent. It's largely thanks to demand for the company's specialty chemicals and catalytic convertors for cars. But the devaluation of currencies in some of the group's biggest export markets, such as Japan and Brazil remain a concern. CEO Kurt Bock. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BASF CEO, KURT BOCK, SAYING: "The big devaluation of those currencies hit us quite a bit, including also the Indian Rupee. So what we try to do was to focus our production where we sell and we have achieved that." BASF employs more than 100,000 people globally, half of them in Germany. The automotive industry is the group's most important market, worth almost 10 billion euros world-wide. And although Europe's new car market grew 5.4 percent last month, Bock says he expects the road to recovery to be slow. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BASF CEO, KURT BOCK, SAYING: "We only expect a flat development going into the second half of 2013. I see all this enthusiam, the recession is behind us but we don't see it in our order books that the economy is really taking off in Europe." The German chemical company says its aims to exceed last years sales, despite the tough economic climate and strong currency headwinds.