LUDWIGHAFEN, Germany — BASF AG announced an agreement to acquire Hydro Coatings Group of the United Kingdom, the worldwide coatings business of Norsk Hydro ASA of Norway. Hydro Coatings Group employs 135 people and operates manufacturing sites in Deeside, U.K.; Milan, Italy; Bangalor, India; and Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. Processing sites are located in Norway, South Africa and the Philippines.

BASF said the acquisition, which requires approval by trade regulators, will significantly strengthen its industrial-coatings business. The Hydro Coatings Group reported sales of 60 million Deutschmarks in 1998.