(Adds sales, detail on outlook, comparison to consensus)
FRANKFURT Oct 11 Germany's BASF said
on Tuesday its third-quarter operating profit dropped 5.4
percent to 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion), beating analysts'
average expectations of 1.3 billion.
The world's largest chemicals maker said the drop was mainly
a result of divesting its natural gas trading activities.
"Earnings in the Performance Products, Functional Materials
& Solutions and Agricultural Solutions segments are considerably
higher than in the prior year quarter," it said in a pre-release
of the results which were scheduled for Oct. 27.
Third-quarter sales dropped 19.6 percent to 14 billion
euros, which was broadly in line with what analysts polled by
Reuters had predicted.
The group still expects 2016 sales to drop by 6 percent or
more, while operating profit excluding special items is expected
to come in as much as 10 percent below last year's.
($1 = 0.8928 euros)
(Reporting by Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)