BASF (Badische Anilin- und Soda Fabrik) the largest chemical company in the world, headquatered in Ludwigshafen, employing 109,000 people worldwide, had € 11.1 billion EBITDA* in 2010.
The story of the industrial giant started in Mannheim (Baden, Germany) in 1865. The founder, Friedrich Engelhorn founded already the Baden Gas lighting Company in 1848, which provided street lighting in the town. The gasworks produced tar as a byproduct, and Engelhorn used this for the production of aniline based dyes for the textile industry. BASF was set up to produce other chemicals necessary for dye production, notably soda and acids. Later on other synthetic dye preparation processes were invented for indigo and methylene blue production. These and other developments, subsidiaries overseas made BASF the world’s leading chemical corporation in 1900.
Today BASF still maintains its leadership in several industrial branches like chemicals, plastics, performance products (pigments, nutrition, etc.), petrol industry, and enters new market segments (e.g. agricultural crop protection).
*Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization