In 2013, companies headquartered in Europe posted a sales increase of 5% to €43,335 million. This was mainly due to the higher contribution from the Oil & Gas segment. At €23,857 million, sales in the chemicals business1 were down by 2% compared with 2012.
Sales declined in the Chemicals segment mostly as a result of significantly lower volumes in the Petrochemicals division as well as lower prices. In the Performance Products segment, sales rose slightly compared with the previous year. Higher sales volumes as well as the inclusion of the acquired Pronova BioPharma ASA businesses contributed to this. Sales in the Functional Materials & Solutions segment were above the 2012 level, driven by volumes and prices. The Agricultural Solutions segment continuned to develop, once again increasing our sales, particularly as a result of higher sales volumes. Sales in the Oil & Gas segment rose significantly. This was largely on account of volumes growth in natural gas trading and the inclusion of the activities acquired from Statoil.
At €4,422 million, income from operations before special items surpassed the level of the previous year by 2%. Higher contributions from the Agricultural Solutions segment and improved earnings in Other were able to more than offset lower earnings in the chemicals business, which fell by 5% to €2,550 million.
We are taking a series of steps to strengthen the competitiveness of the Performance Products segment. We are adapting our business to altered market conditions by streamlining processes, investing in new technologies, taking portfolio measures and making organizational revisions.
In Russia, we opened an additional production facility for concrete admixtures in Kazan. This allows us to even better address the needs of our customers.
1 Our chemicals business includes the Chemicals, Performance Products and Functional Materials & Solutions segments.