BAS.DE - BASF SE

XETRA - XETRA Delayed price. Currency in EUR
50.08
+0.47 (+0.94%)
At close: 5:35PM CEST
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Previous close49.62
Open49.30
Bid50.00 x 139300
Ask50.03 x 16500
Day's range49.03 - 50.35
52-week range37.35 - 72.17
Volume3,903,774
Avg. volume4,605,777
Market cap45.997B
Beta (5Y monthly)1.31
PE ratio (TTM)5.84
EPS (TTM)8.58
Earnings date29 Jul 2020
Forward dividend & yield3.30 (6.65%)
Ex-dividend date19 Jun 2020
1y target estN/A
  • EQS Group

    BASF SE: BASF Group: operating result in the second quarter of 2020 above market expectations; net income below market expectations due to impairment of shareholding in Wintershall Dea, mainly from oil and gas prices

    BASF SE / Key word(s): Quarter Results/Quarter Results BASF SE: BASF Group: operating result in the second quarter of 2020 above market expectations; net income below market expectations due to impairment of shareholding in Wintershall Dea, mainly from oil and gas prices 10-Jul-2020 / 14:27 CET/CEST Disclosure of an inside information acc. to Article 17 MAR of the Regulation (EU) No 596/2014, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement. * * *BASF Group: operating result in the second quarter of 2020 above market expectations; net income below market expectations due to impairment of shareholding in Wintershall Dea, mainly from oil and gas pricesQ2 2020:\- EBIT before special items expected to be €226 million (Q2 2019: €995 million)\- Net income expected to be minus €878 million due to a non-cash-effective impairment of the shareholding in Wintershall Dea (Q2 2019: €5,954 million) Ludwigshafen - July 10, 2020 - BASF has released preliminary figures on business development in the second quarter of 2020. Sales declined by 12.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020 to €12,680 million (Q2 2019: €14,478 million). EBIT before special items, which reflects the development of the BASF Group's operating business in the second quarter of 2020, amounted to an expected €226 million, above market expectations and in the range indicated by BASF, but considerably below the figure for the prior-year quarter (Q2 2019: €995 million). The decline in EBIT before special items is the result of significantly lower earnings in the Materials, Surface Technologies, Chemicals and Industrial Solutions segments compared with the prior-year quarter. This was mainly driven by lower demand from the automotive industry - the company's most important customer industry. Year-on-year earnings growth in the Nutrition & Care segment and in Other had an offsetting effect. Earnings in the Agricultural Solutions segment were at the level of the prior-year quarter.The BASF Group's EBIT in the second quarter of 2020 amounted to an expected €59 million, considerably below the figure for the prior-year quarter (Q2 2019: €507 million).The BASF Group's net income is expected to amount to minus €878 million due to a non-cash-effective impairment of the shareholding in Wintershall Dea, considerably below current analyst estimates and the figure for the prior-year quarter (Q2 2019: €5,954 million). The impairment of around €800 million is the result of lower oil and gas price forecasts and changed reserve estimates. In the prior-year quarter, net income included a book gain of €5,684 million on the deconsolidation of Wintershall following the merger of Wintershall and DEA as of May 1, 2019.Further information An overview of analyst estimates, which is compiled monthly on behalf of BASF, can be found at: www.basf.com/analysts-estimates.On Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 7:00 a.m. CEST, the company will publish the Half-Year Financial Report 2020 and will comment on the figures at the conference call for journalists (from 9:00 a.m. CEST) and the conference call for analysts and investors (from 11:00 a.m. CEST).Contact Dr. Stefanie Wettberg Investor Relations +49 621-60-48002 stefanie.wettberg@basf.comJens Fey Corporate Media Relations +49 621-60-99123 jens.fey@basf.com* * *10-Jul-2020 CET/CEST The DGAP Distribution Services include Regulatory Announcements, Financial/Corporate News and Press Releases. Archive at www.dgap.de * * * Language: English Company: BASF SE Carl-Bosch-Straße 38 67056 Ludwigshafen Germany Phone: +49 (0)621 60-0 Fax: +49 (0)621 60-4 25 25 E-mail: info.service@basf.com Internet: www.basf.com ISIN: DE000BASF111, DE000A0JRFB0, Börse Dublin, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, DE000A0JRFA2, Börse Dublin, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, DE000A0JQF26, Börse Dublin, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, DE000A0EUB86, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, DE0008846718, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, DE000A0XFK16, Börse Luxemburg, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, XS0420401779, Börse Luxemburg, XS0412154378, Börse Luxemburg, Frankfurter Börse, DE000A0T4DU7,Börse Luxemburg, Frankfurter Börse, CH0039943292, Swiss Exchange (SWX), CH0039943383, Swiss Exchange (SWX), DE000A0TKBM, Börse Luxemburg, Frankfurter Börse, XS0414672070, Börse Luxemburg, , WKN: BASF11, WKN A0JRFB, Börse Dublin, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, , WKN A0JRFA, Börse Dublin, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, , WKN A0JQF2, Börse Dublin, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, , WKN A0EUB8, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, , WKN 884671, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, , WKN A0XFK1, Börse Luxemburg, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, , WKN A0XFHJ, Börse Luxemburg, , WKN A0T6EG, Börse Luxemburg, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, , WKN A0T4DU, Börse Luxemburg, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, , WKN 3994329, Swiss Exchange (SWX), , WKN 3994338, Swiss Exchange (SWX), , WKN A0TKBM, Börse Luxemburg, Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, , WKN A0T65R, Börse Luxemburg, Indices: DAX, EURO STOXX 50 Listed: Regulated Market in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt (Prime Standard), Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Stuttgart; Regulated Unofficial Market in Tradegate Exchange; London, SIX EQS News ID: 1091187 End of Announcement DGAP News Service

  • Will Mrf's (NSI:MRF) quality and momentum help its shareholders?
    Stockopedia

    Will Mrf's (NSI:MRF) quality and momentum help its shareholders?

    The Mrf (NSI:MRF) share price is currently trading at 64106. But to try and predict what the price will look like in the next 12 months and beyond, it's worth...

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    Russian pipe-laying vessel moors at Nord Stream 2 hub in Germany - data

    A Russian pipe-laying vessel, Academic Cherskiy, and which Moscow can use to finish laying pipes for the Nord Stream 2 gas project, has moored near the German logistics hub in Mukran, Refinitiv Eikon tracking data showed on Monday. Led by the state gas company Gazprom, Nord Stream 2 had to suspend pipelaying works late last year, hit by fresh U.S. sanctions. The project is aimed at doubling existing undersea flows to Germany to 110 billion cubic metres per year.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    German authority rules Nord Stream 2 pipeline subject to EU regulation

    Germany's energy regulator the Bundesnetzagentur has denied the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to run from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea a waiver from European Union gas directives it had applied for, delivering another blow to the delayed plan. In a statement on Friday, the authority said the infrastructure project, designed by Gazprom to increase direct shipments to Europe, falls under unbundling rules under EU energy laws for its section on German territory.

  • Where next for the Mrf share price?
    Stockopedia

    Where next for the Mrf share price?

    Shares in Mrf (NSI:MRF) are currently trading at 58824.95 but a key question for investors is how the economic uncertainty caused by Covid-19 will affect the p8230;

  • BASF cuts investment plans as crisis consumes car industry
    Reuters

    BASF cuts investment plans as crisis consumes car industry

    BASF <BASFn.DE> scaled back its investment budget on Thursday and said it could not rule out a second quarter operating loss as the coronavirus crisis hit automakers, who are the chemicals giant's largest customers. Profits in the chemicals industry react strongly to a downturn because of its exposure to cyclical sectors such as carmakers, while massive overheads prevent swift cost cutting. The transportation and automotive sector was most heavily affected by weak demand, production outages and supply disruptions, BASF said, while European rivals Umicore <UMI.BR> and Clariant <CLN.S> are also feeling the pain.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    Germany's oil output down 9.5%, gas output off 3.2% in 2019

    Germany produced 1.9 million tonnes of domestic oil and 6.1 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in 2019, respectively 9.5% less and 3.2% less than a year earlier, its industry association BVEG said on Monday. Production of oil in Germany peaked in the 1960s and of gas in the 1990s.

  • Bayer's top seed faces U.S. soybean challenge from Corteva
    Reuters

    Bayer's top seed faces U.S. soybean challenge from Corteva

    CHICAGO/WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Bayer AG's takeover of Monsanto has been beset by problems, and now a decades-long dominance of the $4 billion U.S. soybean seed market is under threat from rival Corteva Inc. Bayer <BAYGn.DE> told Reuters it expects plantings of its genetically modified Xtend soybean seeds to flatline this year for the first time, after three years of strong growth since their launch with an accompanying weed-killer. Meanwhile Corteva <CTVA.N>, formed last year from the agricultural units of Dow Chemical and DuPont, expects its Enlist E3 seed to make up 20% of the U.S. crop in 2020, the first year it has been widely available.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    LIVE MARKETS-Opening snapshot: Only 3 stocks up on the STOXX 600

    You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan (thyagaraju.adinarayan@tr.com), Joice Alves (joice.alves@tr.com) and Julien Ponthus (julien.ponthus@tr.com) in London. OPENING SNAPSHOT: ONLY 5 STOCKS UP ON THE STOXX 600 (0836 GMT) Let's start with the handful of shares which are not crashing down this morning: it's easy, there were only 3 at 0835 GMT! Among this happy few club, Rolls Royce is definitely the star performer, pulling off a 4.5% rise while the STOXX 600 is falling 3%.

  • BASF flags risk of lower earnings on virus hit
    Reuters

    BASF flags risk of lower earnings on virus hit

    Germany's BASF warned that earnings could drop further this year after the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak has started to weigh on demand from its industrial customers. The world's largest chemicals company by sales said on Friday that the virus heightened uncertainty in the global economy in January and February, and it does not expect trade conflicts between the United States and its trading partners to ease further. "The coronavirus has added a new factor that is considerably hampering growth at the beginning of the year, especially in China," said Martin Brudermueller, chief executive officer of BASF.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    LIVE MARKETS-$5 trillion and counting...

    You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan (thyagaraju.adinarayan@tr.com), Joice Alves (joice.alves@tr.com) and Julien Ponthus (julien.ponthus@tr.com) in London. Here's a quick five-day market value loss chart (as of yesterday): (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** ON THE RADAR: MORE GLOOM FOR TRAVEL AND LEISURE (0752 GMT) Despite Wall Street’s plunge yesterday there is absolutely no “buy-the-dip” sentiment floating around. Uncertainty is high, and that’s illustrated by British Airways-owner IAG which said it was unable to give profit guidance for 2020 with the virus knocking travel demand.

  • Bloomberg

    Europe's Coronavirus Plan Is Not Enough

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The economic damage from the Coronavirus epidemic has prompted calls for Europe to relax its fiscal rules to allow governments to cut taxes and increase spending. The European Commission seems to agree: Paolo Gentiloni, its economy tsar, has hinted that affected governments — such as Italy — may enjoy some budget “flexibility” to deal with the emergency.Granting more leeway is a welcome step, but it’s only a second-best approach. The virus risks affecting some countries much more than others. A centralized euro-zone budget would be a better way to address these localized difficulties, since it would allow the channeling of funds to countries where it was most needed. Some governments have much less fiscal space that others — think of Italy, which is struggling with the continent’s worst coronavirus outbreak. It’s unfortunate that a euro-area pot of money does not exist for this kind of eventuality; instead, some member states will be forced to borrow more even when they have very high levels of public debt.The impact from the Covid-19 on the euro zone isn’t yet visible in the macroeconomic data, but many businesses are warning that the impact will be severe. The chemicals giant BASF SE was the latest to do so, on Friday. Companies face a damaging combination of disruptions to their supply chains and a slowdown in demand — both from outside the single-currency area and from within. Europe’s stocks are tumbling and are set for their worst week since the region’s sovereign debt crisis in 2011.The virus has spread across Europe, but some nations are bearing a greater brunt. Italy has had to lock down two areas, home to about 50,000 people, where the country’s outbreak begun. The region of Lombardy, which produces an estimated 22% of the country’s gross domestic product, has taken draconian steps to contain the epidemic such as closing schools and other public spaces. Other northern regions have done the same. Ignazio Visco, governor of the Bank of Italy, believes the crisis could shed as much as one-quarter of a percentage point from this year’s growth rate.Rome is preparing a set of measures to help companies and workers hit by the crisis. The trouble is that Italy faces severe budget deficit limits, given its high public debt — which stands at about 135% of GDP. In 2018, Italy locked horns with Brussels, as it sought to push for borrowing levels that the Commission deemed excessive. The fear is that a fiscal stimulus to counter the slowdown might provoke a similar backlash if the Italians or anyone else are deemed to be spending recklessly.The Commission appears open-minded about giving Rome — and other countries in need — more leeway on their EU-imposed budgetary limits to support the economy. That’s wise. The euro zone has relied heavily on monetary policy to foster a recovery, so the European Central Bank has less room to act than in the past. Governments can tailor fiscal policy to their own country’s needs, depending on how the severity of the economic damage.However, a country’s ability to react will depend entirely on its own fiscal space. Germany will have greater room for maneuver —  if it chooses to act — than Spain or Italy because its debt is much lower. This is why the approach has serious shortcomings, since the virus will strike anywhere, regardless of a country’s economic situation (at least within the euro zone). The best tool to respond would be a central fiscal capacity, which distributes resources depending on a country’s needs.So far, the dream of a euro-area budget has proven elusive because thrifty countries such as Germany have feared other member states would squander the money. The “Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness”, which was agreed at the end of last year (though is not yet in place) is expected to be tiny, and in any event cannot be used to help countries deal with an economic shock. The coronavirus epidemic shows the limits of not having more meaningful instrument. It would be far better if countries chose to build an insurance mechanism to help each other, as recommended by the International Monetary Fund and Mario Draghi, former ECB president.It’s still possible that the damage from the Coronavirus will prove temporary, and that the euro zone will experience a “V-shaped” recovery. The ECB says it’s ready to step in, cutting rates further into negative territory if the slowdown is worse than feared.Europe’s politicians should sharpen their fiscal tools. It’s a pity they’re inadequate for this challenge.To contact the author of this story: Ferdinando Giugliano at fgiugliano@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Ferdinando Giugliano writes columns on European economics for Bloomberg Opinion. He is also an economics columnist for La Repubblica and was a member of the editorial board of the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • BASF flags risk of lower earnings on coronavirus hit
    Reuters

    BASF flags risk of lower earnings on coronavirus hit

    Germany's BASF <BASFn.DE> warned that earnings could drop further this year after the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak has started to weigh on demand, further slowing down the auto industry, its largest customer group. "The coronavirus has added a new factor that is considerably hampering growth at the beginning of the year, especially in China," said Chief Executive Martin Brudermueller. The company said earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), adjusted for one-offs, would likely be in a range of 4.2 billion euros (£3.5 billion) to 4.8 billion euros this year, below analyst projections of more than 5 billion.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    LIVE MARKETS-STOXX at new record: Now what?

    * Wall Street closed for Washington's Birthday Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters. You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan (thyagaraju.adinarayan@tr.com), Joice Alves (joice.alves@tr.com), Julien Ponthus (julien.ponthus@tr.com) in London and Danilo Masoni (danilo.masoni@tr.com) in Milan. After failing four times to break above the 400-points threshold over the last 20 years, the STOXX 600 has finally made it and by a decent margin!

  • Reuters

    U.S. peach grower awarded $265 million from Bayer, BASF in weedkiller lawsuit

    A jury in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, handed Bader, the state's largest peach farmer, $15 million in actual and $250 million in punitive damages. The three-week trial was the first case in the United States to rule on the use of dicamba-based herbicides alleged to have damaged tens of thousands of acres of U.S. cropland. The herbicide can become a vapour and drift for miles when used in certain weather, farmers have claimed.

  • BASF diverts products from Chinese customers due to coronavirus disruption
    Reuters

    BASF diverts products from Chinese customers due to coronavirus disruption

    German chemical giant BASF <BASFn.DE> diverted some products to Europe from its Chinese clients following a coronavirus outbreak that has disrupted logistics and delayed factories from resuming operations. Shanghai BASF Polyurethane Co, a joint venture of BASF and China's Sinopec Assets Management Corp and Shanghai Huayi Group Co, provisionally exported 3,150 tonnes of toluene diisocyanate (TDI), a raw material widely used in automobile and construction, to Europe, said China's customs on Friday.

  • BASF picks German state of Brandenburg as battery materials production site
    Reuters

    BASF picks German state of Brandenburg as battery materials production site

    Chemicals giant BASF <BASFn.DE> on Wednesday picked a site in the eastern German state of Brandenburg for its second European battery materials factory, part of a 400 million euro investment plan to tap into the growing electric vehicle market. The choice of location gives another boost to the economically weaker former communist east of the country after electric vehicle pioneer Tesla <TSLA.O> in November laid out plans for its first European factory and design centre near Berlin. The site, in the town of Schwarzheide, some 120 km (75 miles) south of Berlin, will draw on feedstock from another BASF factory in Harjavalta, Finland, close to a nickel and cobalt refinery of raw materials partner Norilsk Nickel.

  • Bloomberg

    Europe's Ballyhooed “Industrial Strategy” Might Be a Disaster

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The European Union is getting close to unveiling a ballyhooed “industrial strategy,” the better to give the continent’s companies a leg up in competing against American and Chinese rivals. Not so fast. Based on what’s leaked so far, half of the proposals sound reasonable, but the other half could prove disastrous. It’s not too late to rethink.This latest push for an industrial strategy started last year, after the EU’s antitrust czar, Margrethe Vestager, wisely blocked a rail merger between two manufacturing giants, Alstom SA of France and Siemens AG of Germany, because their combined market power would’ve been bad for customers. Predictably, France, with its long history of coddling “national champions,” complained.More surprisingly, so did Germany, which has a tradition that favors tough competition law and otherwise eschews state intervention. What changed minds in Berlin was the perceived competitive threat from China. It would be naive for Europe not to nurse its own continental champions, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.This vogue for European champions is the product of flawed logic. It’s Eurocrat code for letting government officials, in Brussels or national capitals, designate specific companies or technologies as “strategic.” As the bureaucrats then mete out their largess, they fall into predictable mental traps.First, they tend to confuse size with strength, when it’s often small and obscure niche firms, such as the appropriately named “hidden champions” in Germany’s Mittelstand, that have the best shot at becoming globally competitive. Second, they assume that they’re better than private investors at knowing which firms and technologies will prevail. They’re wrong. The market is usually better at picking winners, and it’s always better at spotting losers and pulling money out of failing ventures that politicians want to keep on life support.What happens in practice is that the alleged champions become lobbying machines that seek privileges at the expense of taxpayers, smaller rivals and consumers. This is one of China’s big problems, and one reason why its state-owned enterprises haven’t blossomed even more. Ironically, Europe should panic only if China ever drops its industrial policy.What’s true for companies also applies to technologies. Brussels has set itself a laudable goal of becoming carbon neutral, but keeps misdefining its role as allocator of capital, rather than mere regulator. For example, the EU has just decided to put billions of taxpayer euros into a pot that also includes money from BMW AG, BASF SE, Fortum Oyj and others, to pay for those companies to build lithium-ion batteries for cars. If it’s a good investment, why can’t they do it with private capital alone? If it’s bad, why do it at all? And how did Brussels even decide that batteries are more “strategic” than, say, fuel cells or something else?The EU would be on firmer ground if it just stuck to supporting basic research. That’s where market failures are common, because boffins often have trouble raising funds for breakthroughs that could benefit entire industries rather than individual firms. As the internet once sprang out of a project by the U.S. Department of Defense, tomorrow’s green tech or artificial intelligence could come out of labs funded partially by the EU. But it’s the scientists who should choose what to research.By far the best industrial policy, however, is simply to focus all of the EU’s energy on completing two existing but unfinished projects. One is the so-called single market, the other the stalled integration of the EU’s disparate capital markets. The U.S. and China offer home-grown firms huge domestic markets to expand into, and the U.S. also provides deep and liquid troves of capital for that purpose. The EU doesn’t.The EU may be one market for goods, from toothpaste to MRI machines. But in services it just isn’t. Just ask a Belgian pharmacist hoping to move to Germany, or a Danish lawyer wanting to practice in Italy. Or imagine how much better cellphones would work if operators competed across the whole EU. A single market in services, moreover, is crucial for the development of fintechs and 5G, and in turn essential to progress in the “internet of things” and AI.A capital markets union worthy of the name is just as important. Thanks to America’s sophisticated finance markets, U.S. companies, from startups to behemoths, have easy access to cheap capital. By contrast, firms in the EU (excluding the U.K.) tend to get money from banks instead of venture capital, bond or equity markets. The money is there, but it’s divided into many national pots, so the cost of capital and hassle of raising it is unnecessarily high. Cross-border capital flows in the EU have been pretty flat since the 2008 financial crisis.So Brussels should get busy working down a long and unsexy list, from harmonizing 27 different insolvency and bankruptcy codes (a prerequisite for a common bond market) to re-regulating life insurers so they can invest across the whole EU. That way, Europe’s firms can tap into affordable funding to invent and build the things that will make them global champions.Brexit should be a wake-up call. The U.K. was usually able to deflect the worst ideas (often from France) about European industrial policy. And it was the only EU member with a top-notch capital market. Now the 27 other members must figure out alone how to stay competitive. In doing so, the EU should resist jettisoning its proven liberal principles for a crude economic nationalism. Europe won’t beat China by becoming Chinese.To contact the author of this story: Andreas Kluth at akluth1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andreas Kluth is a member of Bloomberg's editorial board. He was previously editor in chief of Handelsblatt Global and a writer for the Economist. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • German industrial sector in ‘dire’ state
    Yahoo Finance UK

    German industrial sector in ‘dire’ state

    Sharp fall in bulk orders from abroad hurt industry sector in November.

  • Lone Star to buy BASF construction chemicals unit for $3.51 billion
    Reuters

    Lone Star to buy BASF construction chemicals unit for $3.51 billion

    The deal, which has immediate effect upon BASF's reporting, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020, according to the statement. Reuters reported last month that Lone Star was in negotiations to buy the BASF unit.

  • Reuters

    Lone Star to buy BASF construction chemicals unit for 3.17 billion euros

    The deal, which has immediate effect upon BASF's reporting, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020, according to the statement. Reuters reported last month that Lone Star was in negotiations to buy the BASF unit.

  • ‘Post-Chemical World’ Takes Shape as Agribusiness Goes Green
    Bloomberg

    ‘Post-Chemical World’ Takes Shape as Agribusiness Goes Green

    (Bloomberg) -- Agribusiness is increasingly turning to natural and sustainable alternatives to chemicals as consumers rebuff genetically modified foods and concerns grow over Big Ag’s role in climate change.At the heart of the trend are innovations that harness beneficial microorganisms in the soil, including seed-coatings of naturally occurring bacteria and fungi that can do the same work as traditional chemicals, from warding off pests to helping plants flourish, according to a global patent study by research firm GreyB Services.“Both entrepreneurs and investors are saying, ‘Hey, the writing is on the wall, we’re entering a post-chemical world,’” said Rob LeClerc, chief executive officer of AgFunder, an online venture-capital platform. “The seed companies who have billions in market cap are like ‘We need to do something,’ and everyone recognizes the opportunity.”Much of the handwringing over farm chemicals stems from the recent fate of glyphosate, the most ubiquitous weedkiller ever. Regulators around the world are tightening up rules around using the chemical, including Europe and Mexico. Meanwhile, thousands of lawsuits that could result in billions of dollars in penalties are pending against Bayer AG over whether its glyphosate-containing product, Roundup, caused cancer. Bayer insists it’s safe, and some government agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say it isn’t likely to cause cancer in humans.The global fertilizer and pesticide market is around $240 billion, and grows 2% to 3% a year, according to Ben Belldegrun, a managing partner at Pontifax AgTech, a company that invests in food and agriculture technology. While so-called biologicals including biofertilizers, biopesticides and biostimulants are just 2% of that market, those have been growing closer to 15% a year for the past five years, Belldegrun said.Pressure for less chemical-intensive farming methods is coming from retailers like Walmart Inc., non-governmental organizations and consumers, who are throwing more dollars toward organic and other niche foods with environmental or animal welfare claims.As population increases worldwide, the demand for agricultural products is projected to grow 15% over the next decade with no change in the amount of land available for farming, according to a joint report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.“There’s a growing world population and how are we going to feed all of these people?” asked Craig Forney, assistant director for licensing and business development at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. “At the same time, we want to protect the environment. We need to use land better and use the resources better.”The answer, Forney said, is “intensified agricultural production to increase productivity of land and do it with minimal chemical support.”Patents give owners the exclusive right to an invention, and can indicate both where research funding is being spent and where companies or universities expect to generate revenue in the future.Companies like BASF SE, Bayer and Syngenta AG have patents on products using naturally-occurring microbes to help crops flourish even when there is low water availability, according to GreyB’s analysis. The microbes can act as catalysts to encourage growth. Biological-based fungicides and insecticides can also help reduce crop damage from insects, slugs and fungi.“Seed-applied biological products can extend the window of disease and pest protection, while some also provide alternate modes of action that can reduce the build-up of resistance, aid with nutrient management and reduce plant stress,” said Chris Judd, BASF’s global strategic marketing manager for Seed Treatment, Inoculants and Biologicals.Evonik Industries AG, Altair Nanotechnologies Inc., Covestro AG and startup Indigo AG have been active in obtaining patents and publishing research in the area of using microbes, as have universities like China’s Zhejiang University and Nanjing Agricultural University, according to GreyB.Likewise, thousands of patents are being issued to companies like BASF, Bayer and Dow Inc. for more natural ways of managing pests including pheromones that deter breeding and reflective mulches, instead of chemical-based insecticides.Germany’s Bayer, which bought agriculture chemical giant Monsanto Co. in 2018, sees “high growth potential” for biologicals, citing a challenging regulatory environment for chemicals and a growing emphasis on sustainability in agriculture. Bayer has a research and development team solely focused on them. The company also is hunting for partnerships to boost its portfolio. Benoit Hartmann, head of biologics at Bayer, said the increased investments show how the science around microbes has matured in recent years.In 2013, BASF acquired seed-treatment supplier Becker Underwood, which helped the company become a leader in biological agents to fight bacteria and fungi. Judd said the company sees demand for biologicals increasing but maintains that they need “to be compatible with an increasing array of chemistries and to have the ability to survive on the seed for adequate periods.”The increased patenting reflects a trend of researchers looking for ways to help promote organic and non-GMO farming, said Nicole Kling, a patent agent with Nixon Peabody who specializes in the biotechnology field.With biologicals, “You’re not introducing chemicals with the scare quotes around it,” Kling said. “You’re not doing anything that would harm the agricultural workers.”Researchers and companies are looking for new solutions for farming with less chemicals because organic farming, the most popular alternative to modern conventional farming, often results in lower yields. Still, demand for food continues increasing. Iowa State and other universities around the world, using government funding or in partnership with companies, are rushing to deal with those competing demands.“The hope is someday in the future they will merge and you will have organic and non-GMO products that are just as productive as Big Ag,” Forney said.That’s where things like precision agriculture to tailor the application of nutrients, artificial intelligence to monitor soil conditions and the development of new plant hybrids come in.Other emerging techniques that could boost yields while helping farmers use less chemicals is artificial intelligence, which is being used to analyze which seeds and crops can yield the most based on changing soil conditions and weather patterns on a farm. The promise of quantum computers would let companies use massive computing power to develop and analyze new seeds and fertilizers.Scientists also are developing new plant varieties, with applications for new varieties up 9% in 2018, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization. China led the growth, with more than a quarter of the applications for new varieties.Much of the research in crop biotech is centered in the U.S., China, Germany, Japan and South Korea, though it’s being adapted to meet local conditions in Africa, Latin America and Asia, according to WIPO, an agency of the U.N.Demand for more food will be greatest in Africa, India and the Middle East. In the developing world, there is little food scarcity because “we did good things with all that ‘better living through chemistry,’” Kling said, referring to a play on an old DuPont motto. It has come at a cost, though.“We’re starting to see some of the effects of that -- all of this wonderful industrialization has contributed to climate change,” Kling said. “We’re starting to see people swing back in the other direction.”(Adds executive comment in fifteenth paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Lydia Mulvany in Chicago at lmulvany2@bloomberg.net;Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net, ;James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth WassermanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Exclusive: Lone Star in exclusive talks to buy BASF construction chemicals unit -sources
    Reuters

    Exclusive: Lone Star in exclusive talks to buy BASF construction chemicals unit -sources

    Lone Star has entered exclusive negotiations to buy BASF's construction chemicals business as the German chemicals company seeks to focus on more profitable operations, people close to the matter said. The private equity firm vied with a consortium comprising buyout groups Cinven - which owns peer Chryso - and Bain for the world's largest maker of chemical additives for concrete, they said. A BASF spokesman confirmed that the company had proceeded to talk with only one bidder but declined to comment further.

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    Reuters

    Germany's BASF starts building $10-billion petrochemical project in China

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    Reuters

    BASF invites final private equity bids for construction chems unit - sources

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