In 2012, companies headquartered in Europe recorded a significant increase in sales compared with the strong previous year: Sales grew by 11% to €45,665 million. In the chemicals business, sales increased by 3% to reach €24,259 million.
We significantly increased our sales in the Chemicals segment. In addition to higher volumes, this was primarily the result of sales to companies in the Styrolution joint venture, which was established on October 1, 2011. In the Plastics and Performance Products segments, however, lower volumes led to a decline in sales. Sales in the Functional Solutions segment decreased, mainly on account of the lower contribution from precious metal trading. The Agricultural Solutions segment saw positive development, achieving a sales increase driven by sales volumes as well as prices. Sales rose significantly in the Oil & Gas segment, which was predominantly attributable to the continuous production of crude oil in Libya1 ; production there had been shut down from February to October 2011. Higher prices additionally boosted sales growth.
Income from operations amounted to €6,746 million, an improvement of 19% compared with 2011. The substantially higher contributions from the Oil & Gas and Agricultural Solutions segments were able to more than offset lower earnings from the chemicals business, which fell by €892 million to €2,466 million.
In line with the “We create chemistry” strategy, we reinforced our intersegmental cooperation in Europe in 2012, placing the focus on our strategic growth fields and key customer industries. For example, we expanded our industry-based initiative for wind energy. We continued to strengthen our presence in Russia in order to better develop the market.
1 Crude oil production in Libya is operated by branches belonging to European BASF companies; sales and earnings from these activities are therefore reported in the region Europe.