October 12, 2016 / 7:56 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-BASF shares rise on better-than-expected results

* Q3 operating profit 1.5 bln euros vs forecast 1.3 bln

* Shares rise more than 2 percent to 14 month high (Adds analyst comments, details of results)

FRANKFURT, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Shares in German chemicals maker BASF rose to a 14-month high in early trading on Wednesday after quarterly results beat market expectations.

BASF reported third-quarter operating profit of 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) late on Tuesday, beating analysts’ average estimate of 1.3 billion euros, according to Thomson Reuters data.

At 0740 GMT, BASF shares were up 2 percent at 79.91 euros, after trading as high as 79.99 euros.

The company, which will report detailed third-quarter earnings on Oct. 27, said in a brief statement that earnings at all its divisions had exceeded analysts’ average estimates.

JP Morgan analysts said they believed a one-off gain in BASF’s oil division and a better performance in the relatively small agrochemical unit contributed to the strong results.

“In addition, it appears that the much traduced commodity chemicals area - often dismissed in favour of their more glamorous specialty cousins - also outperformed as temporary shortages and robust demand boosted margins in the quarter,” the analysts wrote.

They kept an “underweight” rating on the stock, but raised their share price target to 60 euros from 55 euros.

Bernstein analysts also kept an “underperform” recommendation, saying they were still worried about BASF’s medium-term growth prospects.

“Consensus expectation of growth acceleration is optimistic in our view. BASF’s European margins are also at risk, due to the industry overcapacity,” they wrote.

BASF shares have risen about 18 percent this year, outperforming the German blue-chip DAX by 15 percent, helped by recovering oil prices.

$1 = 0.8928 euros Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Edward Taylor and Mark Potter

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