BASF Hikes R&D Spending; Thanks Employees In Cash

Company invests in new technologies and workers to remain competitive.

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In 2010, BASF’s research and development (R&D) expenditure reached nearly €1.5 billion (US$2.03 billion). According to Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer, member of the board of executive directors and research executive director, the company will further increase its spending in 2011.

More than 9,600 R&D employees are working on about 3,000 projects. “We are participating in about 1,900 cooperative projects worldwide," says Kreimeyer. "This international and interdisciplinary know-how helps us to bring innovations more rapidly into the markets. This gives us an edge in global competition.”

Indeed, in 2010 BASF's goal was to generate €6 billion from new and improved products and applications that have been on the market for less than five years. The company surpassed that goal with the help of products like the newly introduced herbicide Kixor as well as catalysts used to break down nitrogen oxides in diesel-fueled vehicles. By 2015, BASF wants to be generating between €6 and €8 billion in sales through innovation that is less than five years old, according to Kreimeyer.
 
In the next five years, BASF will be investing hundreds of millions of Euros for battery-related activities. These include the company’s own R&D programs devoted to optimizing lithium-ion technology and developing completely new battery concepts, and cooperative efforts with partners in the research network electrochemistry and batteries. Part of this investment is also being channeled into the production plant for advanced cathode materials already under construction in Elyria, Ohio, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. This new facility is scheduled to supply the market with cathode materials for the production of high-performance lithium-ion batteries from mid-2012. (See: BASF Breaks Ground On Groundbreaking Technology In Ohio.)

With all this good news for the corporate bottom line, BASF’s management rewarded its employees worldwide with €50 million in special payments.
 
“Through our combined efforts, we successfully brought our company through the crisis and have once again made BASF strong," says Jürgen Hambrecht, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors in his year-end letter to employees. "We will achieve record earnings and once again earn a premium on our cost of capital. This success was only possible through our employees’ team spirit, high level of flexibility and their outstanding effort. We can all be very proud of what we have achieved.”

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