BASF – the largest chemical company in the world – has revealed the extent of the hit the world economic downturn has had on its fortunes.
Quarter one net profit was down to €375m – a 68% fall – and revenues were down to €12.2bn – a 23 per cent decline.
Bottomed out demand for both plastics and chemicals owing to production cuts at manufacturing plants worldwide was blamed for the slump. BASF’s Asian, North American and European sales fell by 34%, 26% and 21% respectively.
As a result the German company said it plans to make 2,000 of its 97,000 global employees redundant. It will also offload non-competitive sites and continue with short-time hours, an initiative it introduced for some of its workers when the financial crisis first began to hit last year.
And though when posting negative results recently some other large companies have included an air of optimism about the immediate future, there is “currently no sign of a reversal of this trend” for BASF, according to its chief executive, Jürgen Hambrecht.
The firm was this year ranked 80 in the Forbes list of the world’s biggest companies. The company’s profit in 2008 was just under €3bn while its revenues were over €62bn.