BASF is growing well through simultaneously creating new technology platforms and reducing environmental impact
For such a large company with significant global impact, BASF keeps a relatively low public profile. However, every time you slip on your 501s its worth remembering that one of the company’s first main innovations was to develop a synthetic, low cost indigo dye which, in part, explains why the popular working clothes of many nations, and particularly the USA, are blue. BASF is, in fact, the world’s leading chemical company and its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and fine chemicals to crude oil and natural gas. As a long-term partner to most industries, BASF has grown to have over 110,000 employees and, in 2011, posted sales of €73.5bn. The company is currently expanding its international activities with a particular focus on Asia. BASF has been a consistent performer with good margins, above-average revenue growth as well as high-net income growth.
BASF’s quest for innovation has always been along a path of complementary spaces: The company has grown in areas associated with its core markets, moving into animal nutrition as a result of its work in agricultural products and into petrochemicals because of its involvement in supporting exploration for oil and gas. BASF’s core innovation model, or ‘verbund’, is one of several ingredients of sustained growth. It combines product, process, technology and business models. Today, the verbund has become a cornerstone of the company’s strategy and now extends outside the organisation to include BASF’s business partners, customers and the communities in which the company operates. The strategy is producing commercial results and industry recognition: 2011 revenue growth was 15%, net income growth was 36% and average revenue per employee topped €660k. The strong performance over the years, stable investment in R&D and drive for looking beyond its current horizon should allow BASF to look at innovation on multiple fronts to deliver further growth successfully in the years ahead.