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BASF operating profit down 24 percent on weaker basic chemicals

MANNHEIM, Germany, May 3 (Reuters) - BASF's first-quarter operating profit dropped 24 percent as the firm's basic chemicals business was hit by a slump in prices for precursor materials used in polyurethane foams.

Operating profit, or earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) adjusted for one-off items, came in at 1.73 billion euros ($1.93 billion), slightly below an average analyst estimate of 1.75 billion posted on the company's website.

In a statement on Friday, the German chemicals giant also affirmed a forecast for 2019 adjusted EBIT to grow at the lower end of a 1-10 percent range, up from 6.35 billion euros in 2018.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by Thomas Seythal)