German chemical company BASF SE said Thursday net income fell 69 percent in the third quarter as the global downturn hurt demand and prices for the company's products.
BASF, based in Ludwigshafen, said net income fell to ⁈llion ($348 million) from ⁈llion in the July-September period of 2008.
Revenue fell 19 percent to ⁈illion from ⁈illion in the third quarter of 2008.
"Following the global economic downturn at the end of 2008, our business has stabilized at a low level during the course of the year," BASF said in its report.
BASF, the world's biggest chemical company by sales, said fourth quarter revenue should be around third quarter levels, while operating income before special items would probably be higher than a year ago, but lower than in the third quarter 2009.
"Overall, the development in the coming months is difficult to predict. Major risks still exist. The recovery will be slow and uneven," BASF said.
BASF shares were down 1.5 percent to ⁈in Frankfurt trading.
In the third quarter, BASF reported operating income before special items of ⁈llion from ⁈llion in the third quarter of 2008, a 20 percent decrease.
In terms of divisions, BASF said the chemicals division saw revenue fall 34 percent to ⁈ion as a result of lower volumes and prices. The company said demand from the textiles, coatings and plastics industries, for example, were weaker than a year ago. Operating income for the chemicals division fell 9 percent to ⁈llion.
The plastics division saw revenue fall 20 percent to ⁈illion from ⁈illion. Operating income for the division, however, rose 11 percent to ⁈llion as the company was able to cut costs.
The agricultural products business saw revenue fall just 2 percent to ⁈llion. Operating income however fell 32 percent because of higher marketing, research and development and sales expenses.
BASF also drills for and refines oil and natural gas. It said the energy business' revenue fell 25 percent to ⁈llion, while operating income fell 37 percent to ⁈llion.
BASF said the results were affected by the significant fall in the price of crude oil.
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