Chemical giant Bayer says overall net profit grew 8.4% to €684m during the first quarter, with sales of plastics and polyurethanes on the up.
In the Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) group, sales climbed 21.2% to €2.7bn, despite ongoing problems due to the global economic crisis. Volumes rose in all product groups and regions, with strongest growth in the construction and automotive sectors.
Polyurethanes sales were up 19.3%, high performance plastics increased 22.2% and sales of raw materials for coatings, adhesives and specialties grew 9.5%. BMS ebitda increased 24.1% to €345m and the group nearly succeeded in offsetting the considerable increase in raw material and energy costs by increasing prices for its products, says Bayer.
For the overall Bayer group, sales rose13.2% to €9.4bn, while operating profit increased 22.3% to €2.2bn.
“All three subgroups [Bayer MaterialScience, CropScience and HealthCare] contributed to the strong start to the year with sales and earnings increases," Bayer CEO Dr Marijn Dekkers said in a statement, adding: "We are raising our group sales and earnings forecast for this year, mainly because of the improvement we expect at CropScience."
Sales of the CropScience subgroup climbed 15.6% in the first quarter compared with the weak prior-year period, to €2.3bn.
"This increase was partly attributable to the very favourable market environment," said Dekkers, referring to the good start to the season in the northern hemisphere and the high prices for agricultural raw materials. "In addition, we continued to expand the BioScience business.”
Sales of the HealthCare subgroup increased by 7.7% in the first quarter to €4.2bn, thanks mainly to strong sales in the consumer health group (up 13.4%).
Bayer has now raised its sales and earnings forecast for the full year to growth of between 5-7%. Bayer MaterialScience plans to raise sales by a high-single-digit percentage on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis and expects that ebitda before special items will increase at a higher rate than sales.
Bayer after first quarter 2011