Monsanto Merger Pumps Up Bayer Profits In 2019

Monsanto merger pumps up Bayer profits in 2019

German chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer on Thursday reported surging profits for 2019 after its buying US seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto, but remained entangled in a massive wave of lawsuits over a flagship weedkiller

Frankfurt am Main, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 27th Feb, 2020 ):German chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer on Thursday reported surging profits for 2019 after its buying US seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto, but remained entangled in a massive wave of lawsuits over a flagship weedkiller.

Net profit at Bayer leaped 141.4 percent year-on-year, to 4.1 billion euros ($4.5 billion), the group said in a statement, beating forecasts from analysts surveyed by Factset by around 200 million euros.

Over the year, "we achieved our financial targets despite coming up against a challenging market environment in the agricultural sector in particular," chief executive Werner Baumann said.

Operating profit at the group's crop science unit jumped 80 percent as the Monsanto integration went through.

But sales were down slightly on 2018 when presented as if Monsanto had been part of the business since January 1 that year.

Most of the fall in the agricultural division was down to the soybean business in North America, where the group said falling acreage of the crop, competition, adverse weather and trade conflicts weighed on revenues.

Meanwhile the Leverkusen-based group said it had been served with around 48,600 lawsuits over Monsanto weedkiller glyphosate, a vital ingredient in widely-used products like Roundup.

Plaintiffs argue that glyphosate caused their cancers, but Bayer insists the chemical is safe and is "vigorously" appealing first-instance court decisions against it last year.

It added that it "continues to constructively engage in the confidential court-ordered mediation proceedings" that could lead to a settlement.

Bayer did not report setting any cash aside in provisions to cover potential court-ordered payouts or a settlement in the glyphosate cases, which according to Baader bank analyst Markus Mayer could be in the range of $15-20 billion.

Elsewhere in the business, operating profit grew at the pharmaceuticals division "driven by higher volumes and a decrease in the cost of goods sold".

And profit was flat at its over-the-counter medicines unit despite rising sales.

Looking ahead to 2020, Bayer said it expected to increase revenue from 2019's 43.5 billion euros by "about 3 to 4 percent" to between 44 and 45 billion, adjusting for currency and portfolio effects.

Meanwhile earnings per share should grow to between 7.00 and 7.20 euros, also in adjusted terms, up from 6.40 last year.

"The forecast does not yet include an estimate of the potential impact of the coronavirus outbreak," Bayer said.

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