BASF maintains 2023 forecast, faces subdued demand

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FILE PHOTO: A general view of the BASF chemical industry company in Schwarzheide

BERLIN (Reuters) - German chemicals giant BASF on Thursday maintained its profit forecast for 2023 but warned of great uncertainty in the global economy as it saw demand weaken across its segments.

BASF is targeting sales this year in a range of 84-87 billion euros ($92.84-$96.15 billion) and adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 4.8-5.4 billion euros, the company said upon confirming its preliminary results for the first quarter.

"BASF started off 2023 better than analysts had expected – and in a stagnating and difficult economic environment," said chief executive Martin Brudermueller.

Earlier this month, the company reported higher-than-forecast first-quarter adjusted EBIT of 1.93 billion euros, falling by almost a third compared to the same quarter of 2022.

First-quarter net income was up 28%, at 1.56 billion euros, after earnings were hit by impairments on its majority stake in energy business Wintershall DEA a year prior.

However, first-quarter sales fell by 13% to 20 billion euros as a result of lower volumes across almost all segments.

Slightly lower prices also dampened sales performance, the company said on Thursday.

($1 = 0.9048 euros)

(Reporting by Rachel More, Editing by Miranda Murray)