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Bayer raises 2012 forecasts on increasing revenues

But potential settlements for Yasmin/Yaz contraceptives hit profits

Bayer headquarters

Bayer's buoyant start to 2012 continued into the second quarter, with sales in the group's healthcare division rising 10 per cent to €4.63bn thanks to a strong performance in emerging markets, but also favourable exchange rates versus the euro.

Operating profit fell 41 per cent to €800m, however, as Bayer set aside €496m to cover possible settlements for lawsuits claiming venous clot injuries among women who took its Yasmin/Yaz oral contraceptive ranges, plus another €244m in restructuring and write-off charges.

Adjusting for currency factors, pharmaceutical sales rose by a little over 4 per cent to reach €2.69bn, with gains in the US and China offsetting declines in Europe, while consumer healthcare revenues were up 3.8 per cent to €1.94bn.

Across all its divisions, Bayer reported sales up 10 per cent to €10.18bn, with its CropScience division leading the charge with a 17 per cent hike in sales.

Chief executive Marijn Dekkers said the group is confident the growth momentum will continue in the second half of the year, so sales forecasts for 2012 as a whole have been raised from €37bn to €39bn-€40bn.

Among Bayer's pharmaceutical products, top-seller Betaferon/Betaseron (interferon beta-1b) for multiple sclerosis put in a good showing, with a currency-adjusted 10 per cent hike in sales to €319m, while haemophilia drug Kogenate (recombinant antihaemophilic factor) rose 4.1 per cent to €289m.

The Yaz/Yasmin/Yasminelle (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol) contraceptive franchise fell 6.4 per cent to €254m, affected by generic competition and the addition of warnings on labelling in April in the US indicating they may increase the risk of blood clots. In contrast, intrauterine contraceptive Mirena had a particularly good quarter, adding nearly 27 per cent to reach €199m.

Nexavar (sorafenib) for liver and kidney cancer added €195m to the pot, up 7.5 per cent, although erectile dysfunction treatment Levitra (vardenafil) continued its slide in recent quarters with a 17 per cent decline to €70m.

Among Bayer's recently-launched products, blood thinner Xarelto (rivaroxaban) charged ahead in the second quarter, with sales more than doubling to €68m compared to a year ago.

"HealthCare's top priority for 2012 is to successfully commercialise the new pharmaceutical products," said Bayer in its half-yearly report to investors.

Bayer has previously highlighted four potential blockbusters in its late-stage pipeline, including Xarelto, Eylea (aflibercept) for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and two cancer drugs, namely alpharadin for bone metastases in prostate cancer and regorafenib for metastatic colorectal cancer.

31st July 2012


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