(Reuters) German chemicals group BASF on Thursday said it was working to exit energy business Wintershall Dea, with a stock market listing remaining the preferred option.
CEO Martin Brudermueller also flagged a possible sale of the oil and gas producer to investors.
“The exit will not take place immediately,” Brudermueller said in a speech to the company’s shareholder meeting, adding that it would require approval from public authorities and joint venture partners.
“But we are very optimistic that we will be able to execute this in the foreseeable future,” he told the meeting.
BASF has taken a big writedown as Wintershall Dea pulls out of Russia, where it has various interests, including a stake in the Nord Stream gas pipelines.
Investment firm LetterOne owns a 27.3% stake in Wintershall Dea.
Brudermueller said the 6.5 billion euro ($7.18 billion) writedown on BASF’s shareholding in Wintershall Dea led to a 2022 net loss for the company.
“It was very bitter. However, it now opens up a path forward for us,” Brudermueller said of the exit plans.
BASF confirmed its preliminary first-quarter results ahead of its shareholder meeting, which were initially published earlier in April.
“BASF started off 2023 better than analysts had expected – and in a stagnating and difficult economic environment,” Brudermueller said.
The company confirmed its outlook for 2023, targeting sales this year in a range of 84-87 billion euros and adjusted EBIT of 4.8-5.4 billion euros.