BASF earnings miss forecasts as margins fall

FRANKFURT Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:56am EST

Flags of the German chemical company BASF are pictured in Monheim April 20, 2012. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

Flags of the German chemical company BASF are pictured in Monheim April 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Ina Fassbender

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - BASF (BASFn.DE), the world's largest chemicals company by sales, missed analyst expectations for its quarterly profit due to lower chemicals margins.

Quarterly earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), adjusted for one-off items, rose 18 percent to 1.79 billion euros ($2.38 billion), short of the 1.86 billion euro average estimate in a Reuters poll of analysts.

The shares fell 2.8 percent at 0918 GMT, underperforming Germany's top-30 index DAX .GDAXI, which declined 1.9 percent.

Commerzbank analyst Lutz Grueten said results at the group's performance products division, which includes paper and textile chemicals, were below expectations due to what could be delays in cost cutting efforts.

BASF also said it was unlikely to revive its share buyback program - once a mainstay of its shareholder payout strategy - this year because the cash would be better used to develop new products and to upgrade its plants and equipment.

In 2013, the company aims to increase sales and earnings in all operating segments, it added. It also proposed an annual dividend of 2.60 euros per share, more than the 2.57 euros expected by analysts.

($1 = 0.7567 euros)

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Frank Siebelt; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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