In 2008, the Supervisory Board of BASF SE exercised its duties required by law and statutes with the utmost care. The Supervisory Board regularly monitored company management and provided advice on the company’s strategic development and important individual measures. To this end, the Supervisory Board received detailed information from the Board of Executive Directors at six meetings in written and verbal reports. Topics included business policies, the business situation and business development, profitability, the company’s planning including the planning of financing, capital expenditures and personnel resources at BASF SE and its major subsidiaries as well as deviations of the course of business from the planning. The Supervisory Board discussed in detail the reports of the Board of Executive Directors, as well as the company’s future prospects as a whole and those of its individual businesses. Also outside of Supervisory Board meetings the Chairman of the Supervisory Board regularly requested information from the Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors with regard to current business developments and important transactions. The Supervisory Board was always involved at an early stage in decisions of major importance. The Supervisory Board voted on all of those individual measures taken by the Board of Executive Directors, which by law or statutes required the approval of the Supervisory Board.
The members of the Supervisory Board elected by shareholders and those elected by employees prepared for the meetings in separate preliminary discussions. With the exception of one meeting, which one member could not attend for important reasons, all members were present at each meeting.
In all meetings, the Supervisory Board dealt with the further development of the business activities of the BASF Group through acquisitions, divestitures and investment projects, and advised the Board of Executive Directors in those significant questions impacting the future of the company. The projects that the Supervisory Board discussed repeatedly included the successful takeover offers for Ciba Holding AG and Revus Energy ASA. The Supervisory Board views both acquisitions as valuable additions to BASF’s existing business fields. We also dealt repeatedly with the Styrenics business, which is highly cyclical and close to crude oil and which BASF wants to divest, as well as with the further development of the business with chemicals for textiles and leather, which is characterized by low market growth and fierce competition. At the meeting on July 4, 2008, the emphasis was on the growth clusters identified by the Board of Executive Directors, where we see great opportunities for BASF in the future and which form a focus for research and development in the BASF Group. These clusters encompass: white (industrial) biotechnology; plant biotechnology, which includes the research and development cooperation with Monsanto; raw material change; energy management; and nanotechnology. At several meetings, we were informed on the regulatory environment impacting BASF‘s business operations, in particular emissions trading in the European Union and the effect of the E.U. chemicals directive REACH. At our meeting on December 3, 2008, we discussed and approved the Board of Executive Directors’ operational and financial planning for 2009 and empowered the Board of Executive Directors to procure financial instruments under certain conditions.