By Ruth Bender

 

BERLIN--German chemicals giant BASF SE said it expects sales volumes to decline significantly in the second quarter before a slow recovery throughout the rest of the year as the coronavirus pandemic is hitting hard its largest customer segment, the auto industry.

BASF said it won't be able to meet its full-year goals, notably because of ongoing production paystoppages in the automotive industry. Reliable forecasts for the year were currently impossible, it said.

"The first quarter of 2020 was not a normal quarter. The same will be true for the second quarter and likely for the entire year," said Chief Executive Martin Brudermueller.

Earnings before interest and tax, excluding special items such as restructuring charges, fell 6% to 1.64 billion euros (1.78$ billion) in the first quarter as declines in its chemicals and materials business weren't able to offset increases in demand in other segments due to the pandemic, such as pharma, detergents and cleaners, and food. Net profit fell to EUR885 million from EUR1.41 billion a year earlier.

To help weather the crisis, BASF said its supervisory board members would forego 20% of their fixed compensation from April 1 until the end of the year and members of the executive board would also waive 20% of their fixed salaries for the second quarter.

 

Write to Ruth Bender at ruth.bender@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 30, 2020 03:02 ET (07:02 GMT)

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