Bayer cuts annual guidance as Q2 sales hit by COVID-19 pandemic

Headline results for the second quarter:

  • Prescription drug sales: €4 billion ($4.7 billion), down 9.7%
  • Overall revenue: €10.1 billion ($11.9 billion; forecasts of €10.4 billion), down 6.2%
  • Loss: €9.5 billion ($11.2 billion), versus profit of €404 million ($475 million) in the prior year

Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

What the company said:

Bayer noted that sales in the pharmaceuticals unit were down "mainly due to volume-based procurement policy in China and COVID-19," while revenue in the consumer health division declined slightly after strong demand in the first quarter. The company explained that "the contact restrictions and protective measures introduced worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to a drop in elective treatments in doctors' offices and hospitals, with some treatments being postponed," particularly affecting women's health, ophthalmology and radiology products." However, Bayer said that there was "a slight recovery trend toward the end of the second quarter."

Meanwhile, the company noted that it swung to a loss in the quarter as it set aside provisions for settlements related to its glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide, which are still expected to cost up to $10.9 billion.

Other results:

  • Xarelto: €1.1 billion ($1.3 billion), up 5%, boosted by higher volumes in China, Russia and Germany
  • Eylea: €568 million ($668 million), down 6%, due to a reduced number of treatments stemming from the closure of some eye clinics, as well as the extension of treatment intervals in Europe amid COVID-19
  • Kogenate/Kovaltry/Jivi: €205 million ($241 million), down 7.2%
  • YAZ/Yasmin/Yasminelle: €158 million ($186 million), down 5.4%
  • Nexavar: €169 million ($199 million), down 4.5%
  • Stivarga: €129 million ($152 million), up 25.2%, with increased demand, especially in the US and China
  • Adempas: €125 million ($147 million), up 23.8%, with higher demand, particularly in the US
  • Betaferon/Betaseron: €112 million ($132 million), down 6.7%
  • Consumer health sales: €1.2 billion ($1.4 billion), down 16.7%, hit by destocking from retailers and consumers, as expected, following a "very strong" first quarter

Looking ahead:

Bayer now expects sales this year of between €43 billion ($50.5 billion) and €44 billion ($51.7 billion), with both ends of the guidance lowered by €1 billion ($1.2 billion) from an earlier estimate. Meanwhile, earnings are now forecast to be around €12.1 billion ($14.2 billion), down from a previous range of €12.3 billion ($14.4 billion) to €12.6 billion ($14.8 billion), with core earnings per share of between €6.70 ($7.87) and €6.90 ($8.10), with both ends of the guidance cut by €0.30 ($0.35) from a prior prediction.

The company explained that the revised guidance is based on the business development in the first half of the year, adding that "the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic remains difficult to predict." Bayer said that it anticipates that business at pharmaceuticals and consumer health will "normalise overall, although the growth originally envisaged for pharmaceuticals is not expected to be achieved."

What analysts said:

The outlook is lower than most analysts had expected, suggested Baader Bank analyst Markus Mayer.

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