FRANKFURT Libyan oil and demand for pesticides will help Germany's BASF (BASFn.DE) achieve its target of higher operating profit this year, offsetting a downturn at its main industrial chemicals and plastics business.
"The outlook is clouded by continued uncertainty, especially in the euro zone, and by slower growth in Asia. Nevertheless, we still aim to exceed the 2011 record levels in sales and income from operations before special items," the world's largest chemical maker by sales said.
It added that third-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), adjusted for one-off items, rose by 5 percent to almost 2.1 billion euros ($2.7 billion), just surpassing the 2.0 billion euro average estimate in a Reuters poll of analysts.
The shares were indicated to rise 0.5 percent in pre-market trading while Germany's blue chip index DAX .GDAXI was seen edging up 0.1 percent.
BASF remains a tale of two industries with quarterly operating profit at its Wintershall fossil fuel unit more than tripling on resumed oil output in its main sourcing country Libya, while the remainder of the company saw operating earnings decline almost 40 percent.
BASF, whose products range from catalytic converters and car coatings to insulation foams, refrained from the type of job cutting programs, however, announced by its two largest U.S. competitors.
DuPont (DD.N) on Tuesday slashed its earnings forecast, and announced 1,500 job cuts while Dow Chemical (DOW.N) this month said it plans to cut 5 percent of its workforce as it reported lower-than-expected sales.
($1 = 0.7711 euros)
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger)