BASF, the world's largest chemical maker, reported Tuesday its profit fell 20 percent in the first quarter, largely due to an increased tax bill.

Net profit fell to 442 million euros ($486 million) in the January-March period from 552 million a year earlier, Ludwigshafen-based BASF said.

The main reason for the drop, the company said, was a 79 million euro ($87 million) rise in income taxes for oil production, the company said. Last year's results reflected a gain on the sale of securities.

Overall sales rose 7 percent to 8.8 billion euros ($9.7 billion). One major contributor was the company's oil and gas division, where higher oil prices had led to a 21 percent increase in sale, according to the company.