Bayer defies eurozone crisis as weak currency boosts exports – CFO

11 July 2012 15:09  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Bayer continues to be in a strong financial position, despite the eurozone crisis, as the weak euro is boosting its exports, the Germany-based chemical major's CFO said on Wednesday.

“The situation of our company is completely different than is reflected in the massive crisis, particularly in the EU,” Werner Baumann said.

“Our exports markets are still in good shape, consumption in some of our most important markets is intact, and we benefit from this because we report in euro,” Baumann said in an interview with Swiss business daily Finanz und Wirtschaft. The paper provided a transcript.

The weaker euro contributed about €90m ($110m) to Bayer’s first-quarter results, and that windfall should continue in coming quarters, he said. Bayer is due to report second-quarter results on 31 July.

Baumann added that Bayer expects the euro will survive its current crisis, and it forecasts Greece and other countries with a similar fragile economy will remain in the eurozone.

The CFO would not rule out that Bayer might make small- or medium-sized acquisitions - potentially worth up to about €5bn – in the current financial market environment which favours such deals.

“We are prepared, should a company or a business become available that fits in with our strategies,” he added.

At the same time, Baumann rejected suggestions that Bayer may want to divest its Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) business.

“Some analysts are calling on us to divest [BMS]. But does one have to yield to that pressure, against once better knowledge?” Baumann said.

BMS is a business with high entry barriers, long-term market growth and high intrinsic profitability, Baumann said.

“And after all, Bayer discovered polyurethane (PU) 70 years ago. You don’t sell that kind of business just like that,” he added.

However, should Bayer conclude that it is no longer the best owner of one of its businesses, it would seek to strengthen that business or sell it, Baumann said.

($1 = €0.82)

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in his Chemicals and the Economy Blog

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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