Bayer raises forecast due to favourable exchange rates

Q1 profit rose 9.6%, buoyed by medicines like blood thinner Xarelto

Bayer raised its full-year forecast for profit and sales, citing "much more favorable" foreign exchange rates.

The company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortisation and special items will advance by a “high-teens” percentage this year, compared with an earlier estimate of a low- to mid-teens percentage, the Leverkusen, Germany-based company said in a statement on Thursday.

Sales will be as much as €49 billion ($54 billion), higher than the previous forecast of about €46 billion, it said.

Bayer cited the strengthening of most major currencies against the euro as of March 31, including the US dollar, Chinese yuan and Swiss franc, for the better outlook.


The positive impact from foreign exchange to earnings is expected to be 8 per cent in 2015 compared with an earlier estimate of 2 per cent, it said.

"Clearly, the euro has tanked," Simon Mather, an analyst at Barclays, said.

“The guidance increase looks strong, largely driven by forex impact. They got a bit more tailwind than we had expected.”

Bayer is working to increase health-care sales by about 6 per cent a year through 2017 to more than €25 billion as it focuses on life sciences and exits the plastics industry.

The company plans to complete the legal separation of its MaterialScience unit in the second half.

Quarter Results

In the first quarter, profit rose 9.6 per cent, helped by medicines like the blood thinner Xarelto and the addition of Merck and Co's consumer-health business.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and special items rose to €3 billion from €2.74 billion euros a year earlier, the company said.

That beat the €2.98 billion average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Bayer shares fell 0.4 per cent to €128.50 by Thursday morning.

In Frankfurt, after rising 1.1 per cent earlier in the day. The stock has returned about 29 per cent in the past year, including reinvested dividends, compared with a 33 per cent gain for the Bloomberg Europe Pharmaceutical Index of 19 companies.

Bayer spent $14.2 billion last year to buy Merck’s over- the-counter medicines, gaining household-name brands such as Claritin, Dr. Scholl’s and Coppertone.

In drug development, the company is focusing on heart disease, hematology, cancer and gynecology.

The drugmaker is also in the process of examining its diabetes unit, which sells blood-sugar monitoring devices, chief executive Marijn Dekkers has said.

Bayer is working with Credit Suisse Group on a potential sale of the division, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

- Bloomberg