Chemicals company BASF reports that its Q1 2020 sales increased by 7% compared with the same period in 2019, to €16.8 billion.

According to the company this increase was mainly driven by a 4% increase in volumes. Income from operations (EBIT) before special items was €1.6 billion, down by 6% compared with the first quarter of 2019, due to lower contributions from BASF’s Chemicals, Materials and Other segments.

‘The first quarter of 2020 was not a normal quarter,’ said Dr Martin Brudermüller, BASF chairman. ‘The same will be true for the second quarter and likely for the entire year. The coronavirus has turned the world upside down.

‘BASF’s diversified portfolio offers advantages, especially in difficult times,’ he added. ‘Not all of our customer industries are equally affected by the pandemic. They show different degrees of resilience in this environment. For example, pharma, detergents and cleaners, or food. At the moment, they are even experiencing additional demand. Other customer industries, however, are intensely experiencing the consequences of the pandemic. They are hampered by the low demand from final customers. Moreover, there are production shutdowns and supply chain disruptions. The transportation and automotive sector is seeing the strongest declines right now.’

BASF also noted that its sales and earnings forecast for the 2020 business year provided on 28 February 2020 will not be able to be met, so the company is withdrawing its outlook for 2020.

‘It is currently impossible to reliably estimate both the length and the further spread of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as future measures to contain it,’ a press release. ‘BASF expects to be severely impacted by the economic consequences of the global weakness in demand and drop in production, in particular as a result of the ongoing production stoppages in the automotive industry. The effects of the coronavirus pandemic will also impact other customer industries. As a result, the company anticipates a considerable decline in sales volumes in the second quarter of 2020. BASF currently expects a slow recovery for the third and fourth quarters of 2020; how the situation develops is, however, extremely uncertain and not predictable at this point in time.’

This story uses material from BASF, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.