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BASF Beats Estimates on Car-Parts Demand, Oil and Gas

April 27 (Bloomberg) -- BASF SE, the world’s largest chemical maker, reported first-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates as higher demand from car-part makers and more gas trading helped to counter an increase in raw material costs.

Earnings before interest, tax and one-time items dropped 7.3 percent to 2.53 billion euros ($3.34 billion), the Ludwigshafen, Germany-based company said today in a statement. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted 2.41 billion euros.

Chief Executive Officer Kurt Bock reiterated the company’s forecast for an increase in earnings and sales for the full year as the global economy picks up speed in the second half. Bock, who has been at the helm for almost a year, has said the company may make acquisitions to help sharpen a focus on innovation and get closer to the end consumer.

“Increased raw material costs could not be fully passed on in all business areas, which put pressure on our margins,” Bock said in the statement. “Our oil and gas and agricultural solution segments increased their earnings significantly.”

Quarterly sales gained 6.3 percent to 20.6 billion euros, beating a 19 billion-euro analyst estimate. Net income fell 29 percent to 1.72 billion euros, BASF said. Analysts had predicted 1.58 billion euros.

Recent acquisitions have accelerated the shift toward specialty chemicals at BASF, which uses refined oil products and natural gas as a base for petrochemicals. Those in turn are used in products ranging from plastics to shampoo and car paint ingredients. The German company bought Cognis Holding GmbH in 2010 for $3.8 billion to boost its cosmetic ingredients operations, and dye-maker Ciba the year before for $5 billion.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sheenagh Matthews in Frankfurt at smatthews6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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