especially lower demand from the automotive industry – the largest customer group of the company led in the first quarter to a decline in the adjusted operating profit (Ebit) by 24 percent to 1.7 billion euros, as the chemical giant announced on Friday.

sales increased by three percent to EUR 16.2 billion. For 2019, BASF reaffirmed the previous forecast and expects a slight sales growth (2018: 62,7 billion euros). Ebit before special items to slightly exceed the previous year’s level of EUR 6.4 billion.

The trade conflict between the United States and China have shaped the development of the world economy in the first quarter, said BASF. The generally subdued market sentiment was reflected in a wait-and-see attitude from many customers. Group chief Executive Martin brudermüller back led to the decline in the chemical business on exceptionally positive developments, the division in the prior-year period. A good time of it at the beginning of 2019 in the agro-chemicals division, BASF said. An important factor for the increase in sales, the Takeover of stores that had sold the rival Bayer in the Wake of the Takeover by Monsanto BASF was here.

Overall, holding, BASF, the goal is to surpass by 2019 the operating profit by up to ten percent. The increase is likely to be at the lower end of this range. BASF-Chef brother müller had given at the end of February, that the planning would be a challenge. He relies on a recovery in the auto industry, as well as a relaxation of the trade conflict between the United States and China. Brother müller call for 2019, a year of Transition and changes. Was completed on Wednesday, the merger of the Oil and Gas subsidiary Wintershall with the Hamburg-based rival, the DEA. The merged company is to be launched in the second half of the year 2020 in the stock market.

BASF shareholders, where brother Mueller in the morning, at the annual General meeting in Mannheim, are to be held with a ten cents to 3.20 euros increased dividend at the bar. Premarket, the stock was trading 1.4 per cent in the Minus.