15 May 2012 08:38 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Merck Group’s first-quarter net profit fell by 49% year on year to €174m ($223m) in the absence of divestment gains, the German-based producer said on Tuesday.
The company’s operating profit fell to €311m from €530m in the first quarter last year, mainly because of lower operational performance and a one-time capital gain of €157m booked in the first quarter of 2011 from the divestment of its crop bioscience business, Merck said.
Total revenues for the group increased 3.2% year on year to €2.64bn in first quarter. Merck said this performance reflected organic sales growth of 1.2%, a 1.7% positive benefit from changes in foreign exchange rates and a 0.6% boost from acquisitions and divestments.
The group’s organic sales growth was entirely driven by the Merck Serono and Merck Millipore divisions during the quarter, it added.
“Merck delivered a reasonable operating performance in the face of a difficult year-over-year comparison,” said Karl-Ludwig Kley, chairman of the executive board of Merck.
“Our focus during 2012 will be to deliver a solid operational performance while bringing our cost structure more in line with our competitors and peers,” he added.
The company’s performance materials division faced a difficult year-over-year comparison in the first quarter of 2012 after generating a 15% organic sales growth rate in the year-ago quarter due to unusually high customer demand for its liquid crystal materials, Merck said. First-quarter 2012 sales of the division declined 5.3% year on year to €386m.
The Merck Millipore life science division’s first-quarter 2012 sales rose 7.3% year on year to €653m, driven by solid results from its lab solutions and process solutions business units.
Pharmaceutical division Merck Serono’s first-quarter sales increased 5.4% to €1.42bn year on year, while the group’s consumer health division reported sales of €108m, a 7.4% decline compared to € 116m in the first quarter of 2011.
Looking at the year as a whole, Merck expects total revenues of around €10.5bn and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) before one-time items of €2.8bn-2.9bn.
($1 = €0.78)
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
|ICIS news FREE TRIAL|
|Get access to breaking chemical news as it happens.|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Download the free tabular data and a chart of the historical index|