October 26, 2018 / 6:02 AM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-BASF hit by automotive customers' woes in Q3

* Q3 adj EBIT -14 pct at 1.47 bln eur vs 1.56 mln poll avg

* Confirms sees decline in FY adj EBIT of up to 10 pct

* Automakers feel pinch from emissions rules, trade conflict

* Low water levels disrupt shipments on river Rhine (Recasts, adds automotive customers, low water levels on Rhine)

By Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT, Oct 26 (Reuters) - BASF, the world’s largest maker of chemicals and plastics for the car industry, saw quarterly operating profit fall 14 percent as stricter emission rules and trade barriers dented its business with auto makers.

“Growth in industrial production fell short of expectations in the third quarter of 2018, primarily due to developments in the automotive industry in September in particular. The introduction of new emission standards had an impact in Europe,” the German group said in a statement on Friday.

“The effects of the trade conflict between the United States and China are also showing,” said BASF, whose products include automotive coatings, catalytic converters as well as materials for air inlet manifolds and car seats.

Third-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), adjusted for one-offs, fell to 1.47 billion euros ($1.67 billion), the German chemicals giant said on Friday, below average market estimates of 1.56 billion euros.

The decline was compounded by lower prices and margins in basic petrochemicals that go into foams for insulation and cushions, boosted last year by supply shortages.

Moreover, low water levels on the Rhine in Germany, a vital freight route, disrupted production and inflated shipping costs because vessels could not be fully loaded.

The company reiterated its guidance for a decline in EBIT before special items of up to 10 percent from the 2017 figure of 7.6 billion euros. ($1 = 0.8800 euros) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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