Bayer sees growth despite drop in Q2 profit

The German pharmaceutical and chemicals group Bayer posted a 13-percent drop in second-quarter net profit on Wednesday, but said it reflected a one-off item and that the business itself had grown.

Bayer’s net profit fell to €574 million ($894 million), but the previous year’s figure had been boosted by the sale of a subsidiary. Second quarter sales rose by 3.6 percent to €8.511 billion, and pre-tax operating profit gained five percent to €1.896 billion.

“We succeeded in significantly improving our operating result although exchange rates remained unfavorable and energy and raw material costs continued to rise,” Bayer chairman Werner Wenning said in statement.

The group raised its full year outlook moreover, saying that the growth of sales would be “more than five percent on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis.” Pre-tax operating profit was also expected to rise, but Bayer did not put a figure on that forecast.

Wenning said that the group was “particularly pleased at the strong performance of Bayer CropScience,” which turned in a 23-percent sales increase owing to demand for fungicides in particular.

“Our business benefited from the trend on the world agricultural markets and generally favorable weather patterns in Europe and Latin America,” Wenning said.

Bayer’s HealthCare division, the group’s biggest single unit, posted a 6.6 percent increase in sales as it integrated products from the Schering laboratory that Bayer bought in 2006.

Meanwhile, the MaterialScience unit was hit by rising costs of raw materials and the rise of the euro against other major currencies, but posted a sales increase of 5.3 percent “on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis,” Bayer said.

Shares in the maker of Aspirin lost 1.78 percent to €54.71, leading decliners in morning trades on the Frankfurt stock exchange, where the Dax index of leading shares had gained 0.78 percent overall.