BASF, the world's biggest chemicals group, said on Friday it got off to a good start to the year in the first three months and is sticking to its full-year targets. "We had a good start to the year in our chemicals business and in the agricultural solutions segment," chief executive Kurt Bock told shareholders at the group's annual meeting. "We sold more. This more than compensated for the negative effects on sales from the comparatively weak US dollar and currencies in emerging markets." In the period from January to March, net profit rose by 2.1 percent to 1.477 billion euros ($2.0 billion) and underlying or operating profit was up 3.7 percent at 2.249 billion euros. Sales, on the other hand, slipped by 1.1 percent to 19.512 billion euros, as a result exchange rate developments and lower revenues in oil and gas due to the mild winter. Looking ahead, BASF said it was sticking to its annual targets. "For 2014 ... we expect to perform well in a market environment that remains volatile and challenging. We therefore stand by our outlook for 2014 despite unfavourable currency developments," CEO Bock said. Underlying profit would "likely considerably increase," with the windfall gains from the sale of its gas trading and storage business making a "significant contribution." At the same time, "sales are likely to decrease slightly due to the divestiture of the gas trading and storage business planned for the middle of 2014," BASF said.