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BASF back on dividend track

BASF back on dividend track
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Germany’s BASF has pleased its shareholders with an improved dividend payout for last year as its sales to the car industry picked up.

The world’s biggest chemicals company in sales terms had had to cut its dividend for 2009 because of the effects of the global economic crisis, it was the first time in 16 years it had done that.

However BASF’s fourth quarter earnings were less than forecast at 1.7 billion euros.

The maker of coatings and catalytic converters has been helped by a buoyant car sector, one of its key customer industries, and the start of a recovery in demand from builders for its insulation foams.

That has allowed it to pass on higher raw material costs to customers.

BASF said 2011 sales and operating earnings are set to clearly exceed last year’s levels, and gains should also continue next year.