BASF targets agrochemical sector

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The Independent Online
BASF, Europe's biggest chemicals group, has emerged as a potential buyer of AstraZeneca's agrochemical business. BASF said it was willing to take part in any shake-up of the global agrochemical business, as the company unveiled a steep drop in second-quarter operating profits to 421m euros (pounds 280m) after 723m euros in the same period last year. Sales in the three months fell to 7.23bn euros from 7.31bn euros in the second quarter of 1998.

Management board chairman Jurgen Strube said in London yesterday that BASF was interested in raising its presence in agrochemicals. On Tuesday, Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca said it wanted to shake up its agrochemicals business in the light of falling sales and profits. Observers believe it could exit the business completely.