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Mar. 10, 2011
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Business review Crop Protection

  • Sales in 2010 grow significantly as a result of substantialy increased sales volumes and positive currency effects
  • Earnings nearly match the high 2009 level despite increased investments in research and development as well as in sales
  • Outlook 2011: market environment expected to remain positive with prices for agricultural products generally higher, but volatile; slight sales and earnings improvement

Compared with the previous year, our sales to third parties grew by €387 million to €4,033 million. Despite increased investments in research and development as well as in growth markets, income from operations reached €749 million, nearly matching the high level of 2009.

We will continue our successful innovation strategy in 2011. We aim for slight growth in sales and earnings.

The Crop Protection division significantly increased sales to third parties in 2010. At €4,033 million, sales were €387 million higher than in the previous year (volumes 9%, prices –3%, currencies 5%). Sales growth was mainly a result of substantially higher sales volumes. Furthermore, we benefited from positive currency effects. In the first half of the year, lower agricultural commodity prices and inventory reduction by distributors put pressure on our sales prices; in the second half, intense competition led to price declines.

Factors influencing sales

  • Europe: slight sales growth thanks to a good fall season
  • North America: sales rise slightly, primarily as a result of the successful market launch of our herbicide Kixor and positive currency effects
  • Asia: sales improve significantly due to higher volumes and currency effects
  • South America: substantial sales increase owing to strong volume growth

Crop Protection – Sales by region
(location of customer)

Agricultural Solutions – Crop Protection – Sales by region (pie chart)

At €1,566 million, sales to customers in Europe were slightly above the previous year’s level. After unfavorable weather conditions initially led to a late season start and therefore to lower demand for crop protection products, the fall season turned out to be very successful. There was high demand for herbicides for important field crops, especially in the growth markets of Eastern Europe. Positive currency effects supported sales growth.

In North America, sales increased slightly to €999 million. Growth was driven mainly by the successful market launch of our herbicide Kixor® and a stronger U.S. dollar on average in 2010. Our Headline Advantage program – a bonus system for our customers – led to a considerable increase in demand, which allowed distributors to reduce their high inventory levels of fungicides.

Crop Protection – Sales by indication

Agricultural Solutions – Crop Protection – Sales by indication (pie chart)

In Asia, sales improved significantly to €438 million thanks to higher sales volumes and positive currency effects. In addition, sales were bolstered by high demand for soybean herbicides and fungicides for specialty crops in India. We benefited from our very successful Samruddhi business model in India, which involves the training of farmers in the proper use of crop protection products and fertilizers.

Sales in South America increased substantially to €1,030 million as a result of strong volume growth. The recovery of the sugarcane market led to higher demand for insecticides. Strong demand for soybean fungicides could be met by the expansion of our F 500® capacities. We successfully launched our innovative soybean seed treatment Standak® Top. Standak Top offers protection against both insects and fungal diseases. In the second half of the year, we selectively lowered prices in response to intense competition.

At €749 million, income from operations nearly matched the high level of the previous year – despite a planned increase of around €100 million in research and development investments as well as the expansion of our sales team in growth regions.

Sales – Agricultural Solutions
(million €)

Agricultural Solutions – Sales (bar chart)

Income from operations – Agricultural Solutions
(million €)

Agricultural Solutions – Income from operations (bar chart)

Factors influencing sales – Agricultural Solutions

Agricultural Solutions – Factors influencing sales (bar chart)

Assets climbed by €382 million to €5,063 million, primarily attributable to the rise in current assets. Both inventories and the level of receivables increased from the second half of the year onward in line with the substantial sales growth. Our strict credit and risk management, particularly in the Latin American and Eastern European growth markets, continued to be successful.

In 2011, we expect the market environment to remain positive. We anticipate that prices for agricultural products will continue to be above historical averages, but highly volatile. In addition to agricultural commodity prices, the exchange rates of important currencies will play a decisive role in our business. In 2011, we want our volumes to grow faster than the market thanks to our capacity expansions and recently introduced products. We aim for a slight improvement in sales and earnings.

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Segment data Agricultural Solutions1 (million €)

 

 

 

2010

2009

Change in %

1

Research and development expenses, sales, earnings and all other data of BASF Plant Science are not included in the Agricultural Solutions segment; they are reported in Other.

Sales to third parties

4,033

3,646

10.6

Intersegmental transfers

25

33

(24.2)

Sales including intersegmental transfers

4,058

3,679

10.3

Income from operations before depreciation and amortization (EBITDA)

938

973

(3.6)

EBITDA margin (%)

23.3

26.7

Income from operations (EBIT) before special items

749

776

(3.5)

Income from operations (EBIT)

749

769

(2.6)

Income from operations (EBIT) after cost of capital

289

329

(12.2)

Assets

5,063

4,681

8.2

Research and development expenses

393

355

10.7

Additions to property, plant and equipment and intangible assets

145

183

(20.8)