BASF have announced good financial results for 2002 and a new head of their leather chemicals division.

Dr Michael Hepp has been announced as the new head of Performance Chemicals for the Leather Business Unit of BASF. A full statement will be issued at the forthcoming APLF in Hong Kong. Hepp replaces Hartwig Michels, who has taken up another role within the BASF Group.

The German industrial conglomerate have also just released their annual group figures for 2002. Operating profits are up by 25% from 2.3 billion Euro to 2.9 billion Euro compared with 2001. The company cut costs by 700 million Euro in 2002 and aims to cut a further 450 million Euro in costs from its Ludwigshafen headquarters in Germany by 2005.

They have announced flat sales of 32.2 billion Euro for 2002. The figure is down slightly (32.5 billion Euro) compared with 2001.

The performance chemicals segment, which includes leather chemicals, accounted for 24.9% or 8.0 billion Euro of total sales turnover and performed well in 2002.

The total number of BASF Group employees fell by 3.4% to 89,389 in 2002 compared with 2001.

BASF shares rose by 13% to 35.25 Euro per share on the Frankfurt stock market after the announcement.