“We have had a solid start to 2013. In particular, our business with crop protection products continued to be very successful,” said Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in the Congress Center Rosengarten in Mannheim. The increase in EBIT before special items in the first quarter was also due to considerable earnings improvement in the Chemicals segment thanks to higher margins.
Compared with the previous first quarter, EBIT declined by €429 million to around €2.2 billion. Special income from the divestiture of the fertilizer business of €645 million in the first quarter of the previous year was primarily responsible for this reduction. Income from operations before depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) thus decreased by €450 million to around €2.9 billion. The financial result amounted to minus €126 million compared with minus €158 million in the first quarter of 2012.
Income before taxes and minority interests decreased by €397 million to €2.0 billion compared with the previous first quarter. Net income declined by €257 million to €1.4 billion. Earnings per share were €1.57 in the first quarter of 2013, compared with €1.85 in the same period of 2012. Adjusted for special items and amortization of intangible assets, earnings per share were €1.67, an increase of €0.13 compared with the first quarter of the previous year.
Cash provided by operating activities rose to over €2.0 billion in the first quarter of 2013, up by €502 million compared with the first quarter of the previous year. Net debt was reduced to about €10.9 billion as of the end of the first quarter of 2013, compared with about €11.2 billion as of December 31, 2012.
The Board of Executive Directors and the Supervisory Board proposed to the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting that the dividend for the 2012 business year be increased by €0.10 to €2.60 per share. This represents a payout of almost €2.4 billion to shareholders. Based on the year-end share price for 2012, BASF shares thus offer a high dividend yield of 3.7%. BASF is part of the DivDAX share index, which contains the 15 companies with the highest dividend yield in the DAX 30. “We stand by our ambitious dividend policy and aim to increase our dividend each year, or at least maintain it at the previous year’s level,” said Bock.