BASF said it wanted pigments to be a core business for the new owners
BASF said it wanted pigments to be a core business for the new owners dpa / Uwe Anspach

German chemical giant BASF said Thursday it is selling its global pigments unit to Japanese firm DIC for 1.15 billion euros ($1.27 billion).

BASF’s pigments business employs 2,600 people worldwide and generated approximately 1 billion euros in sales last year.

The German group's director Markus Kamieth said the company had been looking for "an owner who considers pigments a core strategic business. DIC pursues ambitious growth plans... to further develop the business in the coming years."

DIC is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange with about 20,000 employees globally in more than 60 countries and last year generated sales of approximately 800 billion yen ($7.5 billion).

The Tokyo-based firm has set a target to increase sales "to 1 trillion yen, approximately 8 billion euros, by 2025", said DIC president and CEO Kaoru Ino.

"In this context, BASF’s pigments portfolio is an important strategic addition in meeting our goals."

In July, BASF reported ebbing second-quarter revenues and a plunge in underlying profit, which fell 47 percent year-on-year, to one billion euros, as trade conflicts hit key client industries like cars and farming.

Sales fell four percent to 15.2 billion euros, with the group blaming a "noticeable slowdown in economic growth worldwide" partly due to the United States' ongoing trade wars with its partners, according to chief executive Martin Brudermueller.