Investments are an essential building block for driving our growth and at the same time achieving our climate targets. That is why we make targeted investments in modern and more sustainable technologies and processes. Our major growth projects help us to reach this goal. We are continuously optimizing our portfolio through targeted acquisitions and divestitures.
We continued to drive forward our major growth projects in 2022 and further expanded our position in our three key regions: Europe, Asia Pacific and North America. The Asia Pacific region and China in particular, which is expected to expand its share of the global chemical market to around 55% by 2030, will continue to play a key role here. To serve the increasing needs of various growth industries in this region, we are continuously expanding our market position in China, for example, with the construction of our new smart Verbund site in Zhanjiang in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. In North America, we further expanded our production capacities in the isocyanates value chain in 2022, for example. We also continued to invest in Europe, especially in our battery materials business in Schwarzheide, Germany, and Harjavalta, Finland.
In addition, we are refining our portfolio through acquisitions that promise above-average profitable growth and help to expand our market position in a targeted manner. A key consideration is that these are innovation-driven, offer a technological differentiation, or make new, sustainable business models possible.
Investments in property, plant and equipment amounted to €4,842 million in 2022 (2021: €4,078 million). Capital expenditures (capex)1 accounted for €4,148 million of this amount (2021: €3,363 million). Our investments in 2022 focused on the Chemicals, Materials, Surface Technologies and Nutrition & Care segments.
Capex: selected projects
Construction of a production plant for hexamethylenediamine
|Geismar, Louisiana||Capacity expansion at MDI plant|
|Ludwigshafen, Germany||Modernization of chloroformates and acid chlorides production|
|Schwarzheide, Germany||Construction of a production plant for battery materials|
|Zhanjiang, China||Construction of a smart Verbund site|
Capex by segment 2023–2027
Capex by region 2023–2027
We are planning capex of around €6.0 billion for the BASF Group in 2023. For the period from 2023 to 2027, we have planned capex totaling €28.8 billion, including €13.6 billion for our major growth projects – the new Verbund site in Zhanjiang, China, and the expansion of the battery materials business. The investment volume in the next five years will thus be above that of the planning period 2022 to 2026 (€25.6 billion).
1 Additions to property, plant and equipment excluding acquisitions, restoration obligations, IT investments and right-of-use assets arising from leases
We did not make any acquisitions in the 2022 business year.
On April 12, 2022, BASF completed the sale of a 51% share in HKZ Investor Holding B.V., Arnhem, Netherlands, the holding company for the investment in the Hollandse Kust Zuid (HKZ) wind farm, to Allianz Capital Partners, Luxembourg, acting as party to the contract on behalf of Allianz Insurance Companies. BASF had acquired 49.5% of HKZ from Vattenfall in the third quarter of 2021. BASF will receive most of the power produced by its originally acquired share of 49.5% of HKZ under a long-term fixed-price power purchasing agreement.
On September 30, 2022, BASF completed the divestiture of its kaolin minerals business to KaMin LLC./CADAM S.A., a global performance minerals company headquartered in Macon, Georgia. The divestiture comprised the production hub with sites in Daveyville, Toddville, Edgar, Gordon and related mines, reserves and mills in Toomsboro and Sandersville in Georgia. The refinery catalysts operations located at the same site were not part of the divestiture. Until the divestiture, the kaolin minerals business was part of the Performance Chemicals division. The purchase price was €225 million.
On October 31, 2022, BASF closed the divestiture of its Quincy, Florida site and corresponding attapulgite business to Clariant Corporation, Louisville, Kentucky. The Quincy site produces clay-based mineral products for a wide range of industrial applications. Until its sale, the site was part of the Dispersions & Resins division and employed around 75 people. The purchase price was $60 million.
On July 19, 2022, BASF and ASC Investment Sarl, Luxembourg, signed an agreement on the sale of BASF’s production site in De Meern, Netherlands, to ASC. The site produces nickel-based catalysts and is part of the Catalysts division. The transaction mainly covers production facilities, including the associated infrastructure and inventories, as well as the employees working at the site. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2023.
In recent years, market growth in China has been driven by increased domestic consumption, higher standards of living as well as more local value creation. With a world market share of around 50%, China is the largest chemical market and drives the growth of global chemical production. BASF is very well prepared to capture future growth in China. We have built an extensive network throughout the country. The following sites are the backbone of our activities in China:
- Shanghai is home to our Greater China headquarters and an Innovation Campus as well as the Caojing production site.
- Nanjing is the location of our Verbund site in a joint venture with Sinopec as well as a wholly owned site.
- In Chongqing, we operate a wholly owned MDI production complex.
Greater China is currently BASF’s second-largest market after the United States. At the end of December 2022, BASF had 11,411 employees in Greater China, 26 wholly owned subsidiaries and 30 production sites. In 2022, BASF posted sales of approximately €11.6 billion to customers in Greater China.
To accelerate our growth in Asia, BASF commenced its Verbund project in Zhanjiang in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong in 2019. The site, which will be built in phases, will be fully owned by BASF and will involve a total investment of up to €10 billion by 2030. When completed, the site will be BASF’s third-largest Verbund site globally. In 2022, BASF made the final investment decision for the main construction phase of the Zhanjiang Verbund site, including a steam cracker and downstream plants to support growth of our customers in the dynamic Chinese market.
Construction of the first plants started in 2020. A compounding plant for engineering plastics was inaugurated in 2022. It will provide 60,000 metric tons of engineering plastics compounds to meet growing demand from the Chinese automotive and electronics industries and will bring BASF’s total capacity for engineering plastics in Asia Pacific to more than 400,000 metric tons by 2023. A production plant for thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) will come on stream in 2023. The startup of the upstream plants is expected to take place as of 2025. An expansion phase covering further downstream plants for diversification is expected to be operational as of 2028.
With around 127 million residents, Guangdong is the most populous province in China. The province is the economic growth engine of China and accounted for more than 10% of the country’s GDP in 2022. Guandong province is home to many BASF customers in fast-growing industries such as transportation, consumer goods, home and personal care, and electronics. This large and growing market is locally undersupplied in terms of its demand for chemicals. Zhanjiang has a deep-water seaport with easy access to shipments of raw materials and finished goods to and from other ports in China, Asia and other regions. It also offers the shortest sea routes between mainland China and Southeast Asia. The government of Guangdong province is committed to providing this area with world-class logistics infrastructure.
BASF is committed to building the Zhanjiang Verbund site as a model for sustainable production. We aim to power the site with 100% renewable energy by 2025. As BASF’s first implementation of a fully digital smart Verbund concept in a large-scale project globally, the site will be built on the basis of cutting-edge technologies that maximize resource and energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact. Circular economy concepts will be incorporated into the new Verbund site to support customers in the region with low-carbon solutions.
Guangdong is home to key customers from fast-growing industries
- Nearly 127 million residents in Guangdong province (2022)
- GDP Guangdong (2022):
> $1.9 trillion (exceeding Brazil)
- GDP CAGR 2022–2037:
- Key customer industries: transportation, consumer goods, home and personal care, electronics
- Chemical products are generally undersupplied from local production
1 Industry real output, 2015-based, Guangdong Bureau of Statistics
2 Real chemical gross output, 2015-based, inferred by gross output/value added ratio for China, Guangdong Bureau of Statistics
3 Guangdong Bureau of Statistics
4 Real private consumption, 2015-based. National Bureau of Statistics with S&P Global forecast, subject to retrospective revision
5 Guangdong Bureau of Statistics, S&P Global