LONDON (Aug. 15)—Polyurethanes was one of the few segments of BASF Group's businesses to show sales growth in the first half of this year. But earnings for the plastics and fibers business—which includes polyurethanes—plunged 64.1 percent versus the first half of 2000 to $138 million. Future growth will depend on a general economic recovery, according to JÃ¼rgen Strube, chairman of BASF. Although the PU business result for the first half of the year was "rather satisfactory," JÃ¼rgen Hambrecht, a member of the BASF board, cautioned that "there was price pressure, especially in North America, on all isocyanates, and the price pressure continues." Second-quarter polyurethanes sales of $631.5 million were 2.6-percent ahead of last year and first half sales of $1.25 billion were 5.6-percent ahead. No details of income for the PU sector were released.