FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Flat sales at its materials division held down earnings at German pharmaceutical and chemicals firm Bayer AG as it recorded profit of euro397 million ($533 million) in the fourth quarter.
The earnings reported Tuesday compare to a loss of euro145 million a year ago, when the company had one-time losses of euro945 million including impairment charges on the Schering name, which the company dropped.
Fourth-quarter sales rose 2 percent to euro9.19 billion over the same period a year ago.
The company says its earnings picture was "mixed." Its health care and agricultural businesses showed modest sales gains. But Bayer MaterialScience, its division that makes high-tech materials such as polycarbonates and polyurethanes, had only flat sales performance and lost euro4 million before interest and taxes.
"Overall business development in the fourth quarter showed a mixed picture," said chief financial officer Werner Baumann. "While HealthCare and CropScience achieved modest sales gains on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis, business at MaterialScience was level with the corresponding period of 2010."
The company gave a cautious outlook for 2012, saying earnings would increase slightly "despite an economic situation marked by uncertainty."
For all of 2011, net income increased 90 percent to euro2.47 billion, up from euro1.301 billion in 2010. Sales increased 4.1 per cent to euro36.5 billion.
A large part of the increase in full-year profit occurred because the company had smaller charges of euro876 million for 2011, much of it for restructuring and litigation expenses, compared to euro1.72 billion in one-time expenses from 2010.
Bayer shares were off 0.4 percent at euro55.52 in midmorning trading in Germany.
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