By David Reed, UT EditorLudwigshafen, Germany-Sales of polyurethanes by the BASF Group leapt 25 percent in the second quarter of 2005 in comparison with the April-June period last year, reaching €1064 million ($1310 million), the chemicals firm reported in a 3 Aug statement. And earnings also rose “significantly,” BASF added, commenting that “the polyurethanes division was primarily responsible for the strong increase in earnings” for its plastics division, which also encompasses the firm’s styrenics and performance polymers operations. The company has also raised its outlook for the full year 2005: “We are expecting significantly higher sales and an increase in EBIT before special items compared with our already strong performance in 2004,” BASF chairman Jürgen Hambrecht said in the statement.However, “the strong increase in sales was almost completely due to higher prices,” the statement continued, although it noted that the rise “was seen in all regions and product groups.”BASF does not separate out earnings for the polyurethanes business, but reported that earnings of the plastics division rose 37 percent to €400 million in the second quarter (EDITDA, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation). EBIT before special items jumped 52 percent, to €274 million representing 9.4 percent of sales versus 7.1 percent for the second quarter of last year, while total EBIT for the division was up a whopping 64 percent, at €280 million.Total BASF sales reached €10 581 million for the period, with EBITDA up 18.4 percent, at €2149 million, the statement said.Key changes in the polyurethanes business during the year included boosting the capacity of BASF’s MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) plant in Antwerp from 360 000 to 450 000 tonnes per year in May and acquiring Huntsman’s TDI (toluene diisocyanate) business in July, the statement added.”
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