MATERIAL COSTS: Rising raw materials prices and weaker demand in a slowing economy held back fourth-quarter profits at German-based chemical, plastics and oil company BASF SE. The company reported a strong full year and raised its dividend.
THE TALLY: Net profit rose 3 percent in the fourth quarter to euro1.13 billion ($1.5 billion) from euro1.10 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Revenues rose 10 percent to euro18.07 billion.
BRIGHTER DAYS AHEAD? BASF set 2012 targets of increased sales and earnings and predicted an economic rebound in the second half of the year.