In the debate about how to deal with China, the boss of the chemical group BASF, Martin Brudermüller, warned against "China bashing". The group is concerned about what is "politically happening" in the People's Republic, said Brudermüller on Wednesday when the quarterly figures were presented. But there are "realities" that have to be taken into account: "We have business relationships that are important for the German economy." BASF has "an enormously profitable China business".
Brudermüller assured that BASF had critically questioned its investments in China. "We took a close look at it geopolitically and with a view to cyber security and so on." There are "certainly risks". But overall, the Chinese market is a good opportunity for BASF.
The company is currently building a plant in China and is investing around ten billion euros in it. Nothing will change about that, assured Brudermüller. "If you develop a location like this, you have to think long-term."
Brudermüller will accompany Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on his trip to China next week. The visit there was a "good signal," said the CEO. It shows "our openness to dialogue" and "that we are still interested in a connection with China".
The BASF boss asked to refrain from "China bashing". "We should look more at ourselves, at our deficits and weaknesses, and how we can tackle them."
Due to deteriorated business and more difficult framework conditions in Europe, BASF management recently launched an austerity program that is to be implemented between 2023 and 2024. The cuts are expected to reduce annual non-production costs by €500 million.
The Executive Board intends to realize more than half of the savings at the Ludwigshafen site, where BASF employs around 39,000 of its approximately 111,000 employees worldwide. The company, service and research areas as well as the corporate headquarters are to be streamlined, it said. The company does not rule out job cuts.
"We are currently developing further structural measures to adapt BASF's production network in Europe to the changed framework conditions in the medium and long term," said Brudermüller. The company is thus securing its future competitiveness and will significantly reduce its natural gas consumption. Details are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2023.
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