A company can only create value in the long term if it generates earnings that exceed the cost of the capital employed. This is why we encourage and support all employees in thinking and acting entrepreneurially in line with our value-based management concept. Our key financial management indicator is the return on capital employed (ROCE). Based on our corporate strategy and the global targets derived from this, we have used CO2-neutral growth and Accelerator sales as additional key performance indicators since January 1, 2020. These are the BASF Group’s most important nonfinancial key performance indicators.
The BASF Group’s steering concept
We follow a value-oriented steering concept with our financial targets. We use the return on capital employed (ROCE) for operational steering as a key target and management indicator for the BASF Group, its operating divisions and business units. As stated in our strategic goals, we aim to achieve a ROCE considerably above the cost of capital percentage every year. With ROCE, the same logic and data is used for internal management, external communication with the capital markets and variable compensation. This improves the consistency of the indicators used for BASF’s value-based management with variable compensation and pension systems, and our shareholders’ objectives.
As part of our corporate strategy and the global targets derived from this, we have also used CO2-neutral growth and Accelerator sales as the most important nonfinancial key performance indicators since the 2020 business year. Two targets are based on these indicators: sustainability-oriented portfolio management with our Sustainable Solution Steering method and CO2-neutral growth.
ROCE is calculated as the EBIT of the segments as a percentage of the average cost of capital basis at each month-end.
To calculate the EBIT of the segments, we take the BASF Group’s EBIT and deduct the EBIT of activities recognized under Other, which are not allocated to the divisions.
The cost of capital basis consists of the operating assets of the segments and is calculated using the month-end figures. Operating assets comprise the current and noncurrent asset items of the segments. These include tangible and intangible fixed assets, integral investments accounted for using the equity method, inventories, trade accounts receivable, other receivables and other assets generated by core business activities and, where appropriate, the assets of disposal groups. The cost of capital basis also includes customer and supplier financing.
The cost of capital percentage, which we have integrated into our ROCE target as a comparative figure, is determined using the weighted cost of capital from equity and borrowing costs (weighted average cost of capital, WACC). To calculate a pre-tax figure similar to EBIT, it is adjusted using the projected tax rate for the BASF Group for the business year. In addition, the projected net expense of Other is already provided for by an adjustment to the cost of capital percentage. The cost of equity is ascertained using the capital asset pricing model. Borrowing costs are determined based on the financing costs of the BASF Group. The cost of capital percentage for 2021 is 9% (2020: 9%).
We calculate the indicator CO2-neutral growth on the basis of CO2 emissions, which are the sum of direct emissions from production processes and the generation of steam and electricity, as well as indirect emissions from the purchase of energy. Direct emissions from the generation of energy for third parties are not considered here. Relevant emissions include other greenhouse gases according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, which are converted into CO2 equivalents. We aim to grow CO2-neutrally until 2030 compared with baseline 2018.
Accelerator sales refer to sales generated by the BASF Group from products in our strategic portfolio to third parties in the business year concerned. As part of our corporate strategy, we set ourselves the global target of achieving €22 billion in Accelerator sales by 2025.
1 The definition and further information can be found in the Sustainable Solution Steering manual at basf.com/en/sustainable-solution-steering
An important part of our value management is the target agreement process, which aligns individual employee targets with BASF’s targets. As of 2019, the most important financial performance indicator in the operating units is ROCE. The other units’ contribution to value is also assessed according to effectiveness and efficiency on the basis of quality and cost targets. To assess this, we use metrics such as BASF’s internal service score in the service and research units.
We use ROCE as the BASF Group’s most important financial key performance indicator for measuring economic success as well as for steering the BASF Group and its operating units. EBIT before special items and capex (capital expenditure) are key performance indicators for BASF that have a direct impact on ROCE and as such, support its management.
- EBIT before special items is used to steer profitability at Group and segment level. This is calculated by adjusting the EBIT reported in the Consolidated Financial Statements for special items, making it especially suitable for assessing economic development over time. Special items arise from the integration of acquired businesses, restructuring measures, certain impairments, gains or losses resulting from divestitures and sales of shareholdings, and other expenses and income that arise outside of ordinary business activities.
- Capital expenditures (capex) comprise additions to property, plant and equipment excluding additions from acquisitions, IT investments, restoration obligations and right-of-use assets arising from leases. It is used to manage capital employed in the BASF Group. Capex is not just relevant to ROCE management, but also supports our long-term goal of increasing our dividend each year based on a strong free cash flow.