BASF Aktiengesellschaft increased its sales in the third quarter of 2003 by 2.1 percent to €7.7 billion when compared with the same period in 2002. Excluding negative currency translation effects, sales increased by 7.6 percent. Price increases contributed 2.1 percent to sales, but prices still remain at an unsatisfactory level. Sales volumes were up 4.5 percent. Third-quarter income from operations (EBIT) before special items fell 31.8 percent to €403 million compared with 2002. This unsatisfactory operating result is due mainly to continuing pressure on margins in the Chemicals, Plastics and Performance Products segments. High oil prices have kept purchasing prices for naphtha and natural gas high. BASF's chemicals operations remain burdened by overcapacities, especially in the United States and in Europe. Prices could therefore not be increased to the necessary extent.