Bayer books bumper Q3 as Monsanto merger waits in wings

DAILY SABAH WITH AFP
ISTANBUL
Published 26.10.2017 10:10
Updated 26.10.2017 10:14
AP Photo
AP Photo

German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer said Thursday it booked a huge windfall gain in the third quarter, but reported no fresh progress on its planned mega-merger with U.S. seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto.

Group net profit stood at 3.9 billion euros ($4.6 billion) between July and September, more than triple the 1.2 billion euros reported in the same period last year.

But this year's result included a one-off gain of 2.8 billion euros related to the spin-off of Bayer's polymers division, Covestro.

Underlying or operating profit increased by 7.6 percent year-on-year to 1.6 billion euros, while revenues fell by 2.8 percent to 8.0 billion euros, Bayer said in a statement.

Bayer's flagship pharmaceuticals division increased revenues 2.3 percent, with particularly strong performance for its stable of recently-developed drugs, including anticoagulant Xarelto and eye medicine Eylea.

Meanwhile, its over-the-counter medicines unit, which offers household names like Aspirin and Claritin, reported a 2.9-percent drop in sales, largely as a result of weaker performances in the U.S. and Russia.

The agrochemicals division boosted revenues by 2.7 percent, driven by the North America and Asia-Pacific regions, while the group said it had made progress reducing losses in Brazil after a poor harvest season cut sales in the second quarter.

Bayer said it was "actively addressing the authorities' possible concerns" of its planned $66-billion takeover of Monsanto by agreeing to sell a slew of agrochemical activities to home-grown rival BASF for 5.9 billion euros if the bigger deal goes ahead.

The group said it hopes to complete the merger "by early 2018".

Politicians and environmental groups on both sides of the Atlantic have opposed the tie-up, fearing it will create a corporate titan with a tight grip on global food chains.

Looking ahead to the full year, Bayer confirmed its forecast of a "low-single-digit percentage increase" in sales to between 35 and 36 billion euros, with operating profit "slightly above" the figure for last year.

In September, Bayer Türk CEO Hubert Braun said the company will continue expanding its investments in Turkey in the coming period. In the past 60 years, Bayer has invested around 200 million euros in the country, with another 9-10 million euros committed to renewing the company's headquarters in Istanbul's Ümraniye district.

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