BASF Report 2023

Actual Development Compared with Outlook for 2023

Sales, earnings and ROCE forecast for the BASF Group

In 2023, the BASF Group’s sales decreased to €68.9 billion and were thus considerably below the forecast range at the beginning of the year of €84 billion to €87 billion and below the forecast range adjusted in July 2023 of €73 billion to €76 billion. This was the result of lower sales in all segments. Sales performance in the Chemicals, Materials, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions segments in particular was weaker than initially expected. Sales also declined considerably in Other, after we had expected slight sales growth in February 2023. The decline in sales resulted mainly from significantly lower prices than anticipated, primarily as a result of lower raw materials prices. Prices declined in all segments except for Agricultural Solutions. Contrary to our expectations, sales volumes decreased sharply in all segments, especially due to lower demand. Portfolio effects had a slightly negative impact, as expected.

At €3.8 billion, EBIT before special items was outside both the forecast range of €4.8 billion to €5.4 billion from February 2023 and the adjusted range of €4.0 billion to €4.4 billion from July 2023. Developments in the segments varied: In the Chemicals and Materials segments, EBIT before special items declined considerably as forecast. The Industrial Solutions and Nutrition & Care segments recorded a considerably sharper decline in earnings than initially expected. In contrast, the development in the Agricultural Solutions and Surface Technologies segments and in Other were better than assumed. Agricultural Solutions exceeded our expectations and considerably increased earnings. Other also recorded a considerable increase in earnings, despite our expectations of a considerable decline. Surface Technologies slightly increased EBIT before special items and thus exceeded our forecast of a slight decline in earnings.

Our expectations for ROCE were accurate in the Chemicals, Materials and Nutrition & Care segments. In the other segments, ROCE was below our expectations. Overall, ROCE for the BASF Group amounted to 4.5%, below the cost of capital rate of 9% for 2023 and below the range we had forecast in February 2023 of between 7.2% and 8.0%. The adjusted range of 6.5% to 7.1% in July 2023 was also not reached. This ROCE development was attributable to the declines in earnings in the segments, which was partly due to unexpected impairments in the fourth quarter of 2023. A considerably lower cost of capital basis was unable to compensate for this.

Forecast/actual comparison



EBIT before special items



2023 forecast

2023 actual

2023 forecast

2023 actual

2023 forecast

2023 actual



Industrial Solutions

Surface Technologies

Nutrition & Care

Agricultural Solutions


BASF Group

€84 billion–€87 billiona

€68.9 billion

€4.8 billion–€5.4 billiona

€3.8 billion



At prior-year level: no change (+/–0.0%)


Slight increase / decrease: “slight” represents a change of 0.1%–5.0% for sales; 0.1%–10.0% for earnings; 0.1 to 1.0 percentage points for ROCE


Considerable increase / decrease: “considerable” represents a change of 5.1% or higher for sales; 10.1% or higher for earnings; more than 1.0 percentage points for ROCE


We updated our outlook in July 2023, forecasting sales of between €73 billion and €76 billion, EBIT before special items of between €4.0 billion and €4.4 billion, and a ROCE of between 6.5% and 7.1%.

CO2 emissions forecast for the BASF Group

CO2 emissions amounted to 16.9 million metric tons, well below the forecast range in February 2023 of 18.1 million metric tons to 19.1 million metric tons and slightly below the adjusted range from July 2023 of 17.0 million metric tons to 17.6 million metric tons. The main driver for this was the reduced production volume due to persistently weak demand. We continued to use electricity from renewable sources and purchase green electricity certificates.

Capex forecast for the BASF Group

In 2023, we invested a total of €5.2 billion in property, plant and equipment, excluding additions from acquisitions, IT investments, restoration obligations and right-of-use assets arising from leases. The figure forecast in February 2023 was around €6.3 billion. The Chemicals and Surface Technologies segments as well as Other spent considerably less in 2023 than originally planned.

Sales, earnings and ROCE forecast for the segments

Sales in the Chemicals segment declined considerably in 2023, after we had expected a slight decline in sales at the beginning of the year. Prices declined in both operating divisions as expected, albeit to a more considerable extent than anticipated. In addition, volumes decreased considerably due to a slowdown in demand. We had initially assumed volume growth in the segment. The segment’s EBIT before special items and ROCE declined considerably, as forecast.

Contrary to our assumption of slight sales growth, sales in the Materials segment were considerably below the prior-year level. Here, too, this was mainly due to demand- and raw materials prices-related price and volume decline after we had assumed a price increase and slight volume growth at the beginning of 2023. EBIT before special items and ROCE declined considerably as expected.

Compared with the previous year, sales in the Industrial Solutions segment decreased considerably, contrary to our expectation of a slight decline. This was mainly due to the sharp decline in sales volumes in the Performance Chemicals division as a result of weak demand. In February, we forecast volume growth for the division. As expected, lower volumes in the Dispersions & Resins division, lower prices in both divisions and the negative portfolio effect from the divestiture of the kaolin minerals business also had a negative impact on sales. The segment’s EBIT before special items decreased significantly instead of only slightly as forecast. Both divisions contributed to this with considerably lower earnings. We had assumed a considerable increase in EBIT before special items for the Performance Chemicals division in our forecast. Contrary to our expectation of a slight decline, ROCE was also considerably below the previous year as a result of earnings development.

Sales in the Surface Technologies segment were considerably below the prior-year figure. We had originally assumed a slight decline in sales. While price developments in both divisions were as forecast, the Catalysts division was unable to increase volumes as expected. However, EBIT before special items rose slightly; we had initially expected a slight decrease. This was attributable to the expected considerable earnings growth in the Coatings division, which even more than compensated for the anticipated decline in earnings in the Catalysts division. ROCE was considerably lower due to impairments on property, plant and equipment, particularly in the battery materials business. We had expected a slight decline in ROCE in February.

Despite our assumption of sales on a level with the previous year, sales in the Nutrition & Care segment decreased considerably. The divisions recorded declines in volumes, contrary to our expectations. Prices decreased as assumed. In line with sales performance, EBIT before special items declined significantly due to volumes and margins, after we had assumed only a slight decline. ROCE was considerably below the previous year, as forecast.

Sales decreased slightly in the Agricultural Solutions segment and did not increase slightly as originally forecast. The expected price increases were not able to fully compensate for the unforeseen decline in sales volumes driven by a change in market dynamics. EBIT before special items increased considerably, primarily as a result of price increases and the receipt of a one-time payment. At the beginning of the year, we had only expected a slight improvement. ROCE was slightly lower, contrary to our assumption of a slight increase. This was mainly driven by impairments on production facilities in Europe as well as charges for measures in the context of the cost savings program focusing on Europe.

Sales in Other were significantly lower compared with the prior-year figure due to lower sales in commodity and energy trading. We had forecast a slight increase in February 2023. Contrary to expectations, EBIT before special items increased considerably. This was mainly due to a higher contribution from other businesses compared with the previous year and lower expenses for corporate research.

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