BASF has increased its earnings in the 4th quarter, the chemical company has said.

BASF Group sales of €18 billion almost matched the level of the previous year (fourth quarter of 2013: €18.1 billion) and sales volumes increased by 1%, it says.

BASF says that the Catalysts division as well as the Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas segments mainly contributed to this increase.

“At €74.3 billion, sales in 2014 matched the level of the previous year (2013: €74.0 billion) and sales volumes increased in all segments in 2014. Overall volumes grew by 4% and prices decreased by 3%, largely due to significant decreases in oil and gas prices. Negative currency effects dampened sales in almost all divisions,” the company says.

BASF has achieved its goal for 2014, Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, speaking at the Annual Press Conference in Ludwigshafen, Germany, said.

“We increased earnings – despite the disappointing economic development in Europe. We grew profitably. We further strengthened our chemicals business and in turn improved our margins. We have our costs firmly under control,” he said.

Bock said that the outlook for the 2015 business year is subject to significant uncertainty, that oil and raw material prices are volatile, as are currencies; the emerging markets are growing more slowly; and the global economy is being dampened by geopolitical conflict.

“For 2015, we nevertheless anticipate somewhat stronger growth in the global economy, industrial production and the chemical industry than in 2014,” Bock said.

For 2015, BASF assumes that global economic growth will increase by 2.8% and an increase in global chemical production by 4.2%. Regarding currency the company assumes an average euro/dollar exchange rate of $1.20 per euro and an average oil price of $60 to $70 per barrel.

“The global economy will continue to face substantial risks. In this volatile and challenging environment, we want to perform well and increase sales slightly in 2015,” said Bock.

BASF manufactures chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas.