The preliminary, non-audited figures for 2015 released by BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany) earlier this week revealed impairments in EBIT due to lower oil and gas price forecasts. Revenue fell 5%, dropping from €74.3 billion in 2014 to €70.4 billion, while earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) and before special items was expected to be €6.7 billion for the full year 2015, considerably less than the €7.4 billion achieved in 2014.
The decrease in sales, said the firm, resulted primarily from the divestiture of the natural gas trading and storage activities. However, the decline in EBIT before special items was due in particular to significantly lower earnings in the Oil & Gas and Chemicals segments in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared with the same period of 2014. In the Chemicals segment, this was mainly due to lower margins in the Petrochemicals division.
BASF said that it had previously expected only slightly lower EBIT in the full year 2015. However, the Oil & Gas segment—BASF is the owner of Germany’s largest oil and gas exploration firm, Wintershall—is wrestling with the impact of the strong decline in oil and gas prices over the past months. Wintershall accounted for 22% of BASF’s operating profit, or €1.7 billion, in 2014.
The company anticipates that prices for oil and gas will remain at a low level in 2016, and has reduced assumptions for oil and gas prices for subsequent years, causing an impairment of around €600 million in the Oil & Gas segment.
On February 26, 2016, BASF will publish its Consolidated Financial Statements for 2015 and will comment on the figures at its Annual Press Conference.