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BASF SE : BASF outlines plans for growth in North America

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05/04/2012 | 08:05pm CET

FLORHAM PARK, NJ, May 4, 2012-- BASF Corporation today said it had a solid start to the year and wants to grow sales in North America by about five percent per year through 2020, driven by strategic capital investments, sustainability-enabling innovations, and optimization of the company's portfolio through acquisitions.

Speaking at a press conference at BASF's new regional headquarters building in Florham Park, New Jersey, Hans Engel, Chairman and CEO of BASF Corporation, and Frank Bozich, Executive Vice President and President of BASF's Global Catalysts division, said BASF has set for itself ambitious targets for profitable growth.

In north America, sales grew by 17 percent in U.S. dollars and by 11 percent in euro terms to reach €14.7 billion in 2011.

"BASF in North America sustained its good performance in 2011," said Engel. "Sales exceeded the previous year's levels in nearly all segments. In the Performance Products segment, this was mainly driven by the full-year inclusion of the acquired Cognis businesses. Our region ended the year with a record EBIT, which rose by €207 million to €1.3 billion."

For the first quarter of 2012, sales in North America matched those of BASF's record first quarter for 2011.

"Overall, BASF in North America continued its strong performance and almost met the results of the record first quarter 2011," said Engel. "The earnings were impacted by higher raw material costs and a scheduled turnaround of our site in Geismar, Louisiana.The good news is that we expect continued economic growth in the region at a level slightly above prior years for the remainder of 2012."

For the years to come, BASF expects growth of at least two percentage points above chemical production and plans to grow sales in North America at a rate of five percent per year. The target is consistent with the company's plan to outpace both worldwide gross domestic product (GDP) and chemical industry production.

New formic acid plant

During the press conference, BASF announced that it will be adding a formic acid plant at its Geismar, Louisiana, production facility. It will be the only formic acid plant in North America and will allow BASF to serve strategic markets in North and South America better, including applications for pharmaceuticals, energy, animal nutrition, leather and cleaning products.

"At Geismar, and at our site in Freeport, Texas, plants are strategically co-located. Chemicals and heat produced during chemical reactions are captured and repurposed as feedstocks and energy in other parts of the site.

This concept, which we call "Verbund," is a BASF core competency - one we put to work at six sites throughout the world," said Engel.


BASF's increasing investment in North America is further demonstrated by the optimization of the company's portfolio through acquisitions. Examples of this over the last years are the acquisitions of leading catalysts company Engelhard, Degussa Construction chemicals, and Johnson Polymers as well as specialty chemicals companies Ciba in 2009 and Cognis in 2010. These acquisitions have contributed significantly to the success of BASF in North America.

This year, BASF announced the creation of a new Battery Materials unit focused on developing value-adding solutions to propel the evolution of batteries for electro-mobility, and:

  • -The acquisition of an equity ownership position in Sion Power, the global leader in the development of lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries, in January.
  • -The acquisition of Ovonic Battery Company, the global leader in Nickel-Metalhydride (NiMH) battery technology, and Merck's battery electrolyte technologies, in February.
  • -A licensing agreement to acquire cutting-edge Lithium Iron Phosphate cathode technology from LiFePO4+C, in March.
  • -Most recently, the acquisition of Novolyte Technologies, based in Cleveland, Ohio. Novolyte is a global leader in electrolyte formulations for lithium-ion batteries.

"Developing advanced battery materials that enable the next generation of electric vehicles is one of many sustainability-related priorities for BASF," said Bozich.

Strategic investments through BASF Venture Capital

Another example of BASF's commitment to investing in regional growth is BASF Venture Capital, part of BASF Future Business, which is leading the company's efforts to create chemistry with sustainability-focused, innovation-driven start-up companies. This year, BASF has invested in:

  • -Allylix, Inc., a U.S.-based renewable chemicals and bio-plastics company;
  • -Renmatix Inc., which has patented a process to produce industrial sugar from non-edible plant-mass like wood, cane trash or straw; and
  • -Solidia Technologies, Inc., whose concrete and building materials technology not only consumes carbon dioxide, it cures in just a few hours and is more durable than conventional concrete.
  • -Most recently, NanoH2O, Inc., which develops, produces and sells reverse osmosis membranes for seawater desalination, an innovative technology to produce drinking water from seawater.

Sustainability-enabling innovations

As a company, Bozich said, BASF is focused on harnessing the power of chemistry to drive sustainable solutions, in line with the company's purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future.

"This is and will continue to be our greatest opportunity to create value and promote continuing growth around the world and here in North America. In BASF's case, we can achieve business success by helping to feed, power, move, house, and improve the lives of a growing world population," he added.

The company's new North American headquarters building officially opened this month in Florham Park, New Jersey. Designed to achieve LEED® double Platinum* standards, the building - developed in partnership with the Rockefeller Group Development Corporation - features a variety of BASF-enabled construction products that lower energy consumption and increase building life expectancy.

"By utilizing a combination of BASF-enabled insulating materials, low VOC coatings, sustainable concrete technologies and other BASF products, we have built a North American headquarters with a remarkable sustainability profile," said Engel. "If we succeed in achieving this certification, and we're confident we will, our North American headquarters will be the largest LEED double Platinum office building in the State of New Jersey, and one of the largest in the nation."

BASF provided journalists attending the press conference with a first-hand look at one example of collaboration: the smart forvision concept car, which BASF presented with Daimler at the International Motor Show, IAA, in Frankfurt, Germany.

"The smart forvision is a great example of the collaborative solution-based innovation that will define the chemistry marketplace of the future," said Bozich.

The car features innovations, such as transparent organic solar cells and organic light-emitting diodes, all-plastic wheels, new lightweight body components, and infrared-reflective films and coatings - all designed to help reduce the vehicle's energy consumption and increase its range, practicality, and comfort.

After the press conference, BASF offered journalists an exclusive showing of the company's "We create chemistry" World Tour, a traveling showcase of innovations to provide solutions for the challenges of the future, such as rising energy demands, the growing world population and society's aspirations for better quality of life.

For more information:

Speaker remarks, photos and videos of the press conference will be available after 4 p.m. EDT at http://on.basf.com/JASzI0.

BASF - The Chemical Company

BASF Corporation has been headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey since 2004 and is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 16,000 employees in North America, and had sales of $20 billion in 2011. For more information about BASF's North American operations, visit www.basf.us.

BASF is the world's leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success, social responsibility and environmental protection. Through science and innovation we enable our customers in almost all industries to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and system solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring healthy food and nutrition and helping to improve the quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF posted sales of about €73.5 billion in 2011 and had more than 111,000 employees as of the end of the year. Further information on BASF is available on the Internet atwww.basf.com.

*LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a trademark of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Platinum certification is the highest achievement attainable throughthe LEED green building certification program which encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through a suite of rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance.BASF is seekingPlatinum certification in two phases: one for Core & Shell and another for Commercial Interiors.

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Kurt W. Bock Chairman-Executive Board
Jürgen Hambrecht Chairman-Supervisory Board
Hans-Ulrich Engel Chief Financial Officer
Martin Brudermüller Chief Technology Officer
Michael Diekmann Vice Chairman-Supervisory Board
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