Bayer's first-quarter drug sales up; lifts full-year revenue, earnings forecasts

Bayer said Thursday that first-quarter pharmaceutical sales rose 4.7 percent to 2.6 billion euros ($3.9 billion), led by higher revenue in China and Japan. The company's net income increased 8.4 percent to 684 million euros ($1 billion) compared with the year earlier quarter, although the figure fell below analyst estimates of 799 million euros ($1.2 billion).

The company said that quarterly sales of Kogenate climbed 16 percent to 283 million euros ($418 million), which was mainly due to higher volumes in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, while revenue from Betaferon/Betaseron slipped 3.2 percent to 274 million euros ($405 million). Bayer noted that sales of the YAZ family of products were affected in the US by generic competition, causing overall revenue from the contraceptives to drop 15.7 percent to 242 million euros ($358 million).

Overall group revenue rose 13.2 percent to euro 9.4 billion euros ($13.9 billion), offsetting charges totaling 442 million euros ($653 million), that included restructuring costs of 248 million euros ($367 million) related to Bayer's HealthCare and CropScience units.

For the full year, Bayer said it still expects sales in the pharmaceutical division to grow below the market in 2011.

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