HONG KONG – BASF posted Asia-Pacific sales of EUR 8.7 billion in 2009, compared to EUR 9.3 billion in 2008. Income from operations (EBIT) was almost doubled to EUR 503 million, compared to EUR 249 million in 2008, thanks to an improvement of the business environment, a "value before volume" approach and successful cost reduction measures. With these results, BASF has taken important steps towards weathering the economic crisis in the region.
Despite the adverse business environment, the integration of Ciba also proceeded rapidly in Asia Pacific and strengthened the specialty chemicals business.
Under its Asia-Pacific Strategy 2020, announced last year, BASF intends to grow above market and thus double sales in the region by the year 2020 while earning a premium on cost of capital. Under this strategy, BASF aims to become a preferred supplier to key growth industries including automotive, construction, packaging, paint and coatings, and pharmaceuticals. The company has set up industry target groups for each of these sectors to enhance its understanding of customers’ needs and be better positioned to provide products and solutions based on BASF’s global knowledge and resources.
For example, BASF's Asia-Pacific automotive industry target group is working with emerging Asian automotive manufacturers to help them take advantage of the rapidly changing business environment. With automotive manufacturers in the region, BASF is jointly exploring solutions from the world of chemistry such as weight reduction, safety, environmental protection and production processes that help to reduce costs. In 2009, Asia became the world’s largest automotive market accounting for 37 percent of global light-vehicle sales, or 22 million units. Globally, BASF is the largest chemical supplier to the automotive industry.
With a goal to double its employees in research and development and increase its overall headcount by 5,000 during the next 10 years, in 2009 BASF set up dedicated recruitment centers in India and China to manage the increase in hiring. As of the end of 2009, there were approximately 400 employees working in 12 R&D centers over Asia.
Globally, BASF again intends to maintain its research budget at the previous years’ high level, with an overall target of EUR 1.38 billion in 2010.
In 2009 BASF achieved the first phase of its site optimization project, which aims to increase capacity through debottlenecking production and by exploiting technical synergies. First implemented at the company's integrated production sites, the process is ongoing at BASF sites around the region including those in China, Korea and Japan. BASF aims to reduce costs in Asia Pacific by at least EUR 100 million annually by 2012.