BASF says it has prepared for any repeat of low Rhine water levels

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German chemicals giant BASF said it does not expect a repeat of the financial hit it took from low water levels of the River Rhine last year after taking countermeasures.

BASF last year suffered a burden of 250 million euros ($280 million) on 2018 operating income from low levels of the River Rhine, a main shipping route and a source of cooling water for chemical reactors.

“We obviously are not expecting this to repeat in the year 2019,” said finance chief Hans-Ulrich Engel during a conference call for analysts.

BASF has since last summer reduced the dependency on the intake of cooling water from the River Rhine, he said, adding that BASF had reserved more special barges suitable for low water levels, among other measures.

BASF’s largest chemical complex in Ludwigshafen, Germany, receives about 40 percent of its raw materials via river ships.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger, editing by Riham Alkousaa