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Trade wars hit BASF as coronavirus looms

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FRANKFURT AM MAIN: German chemical giant BASF on Friday said global trade tensions hit 2019 sales, with the auto sector especially affected, and pointed to a “significant impact” ahead from the new coronavirus.


“2019 was a challenging year with strong economic headwinds,” including both trade wars and other sources of uncertainty such as Brexit, chief executive Martin Brudermueller said in a statement.


BASF sales fell 1.5 per cent to 59.3 billion euros ($65.3 billion), while operating, or underlying profit slumped sharply.


But the group’s net profit jumped almost 80 per cent, to 8.4 billion euros, thanks to a one-off effect related to the merger of its oil and gas business Wintershall with DEA. Looking ahead to 2020, Brudermueller warned that “the coronavirus has added a new factor that is considerably hampering growth... especially in China,” reducing demand and interrupting production. — AFP


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