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October 27, 2009

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Home » Business » Manufacturing

Merck net falls 28% as weak demand hits revenue

GERMAN drug and chemical maker Merck KGaA said yesterday net income fell 28 percent to 144 million euros (US$216 million) in the third quarter as weak demand hurt revenue, but said its chemicals and liquid crystals divisions were recovering.

Merck, based in Darmstadt and unrelated to the United States firm of the same name, said net profit for the period compared with 200 million euros in July-September of 2008.

Revenue for the period rose nearly 3 percent to 1.94 billion euros from 1.9 billion euros in 2008.

The company said for the whole of 2009 it should see the Merck Serono drug division's revenue rise 6 percent and the consumer health care division's revenue rise 5 percent - both within the previously forecast range.

Meanwhile, the liquid crystals division's revenue is expected to rise 20 percent, compared with the 20 percent to 30 percent decline the company had previously forecast. Liquid crystals are used in computer and television screens.

The firm said the performance and life science chemicals divisions' revenue would remain unchanged.

"The third-quarter figures are showing improvement compared to the first half of 2009," Karl-Ludwig Kley, Merck's chief executive said in the company's report.

"Even in our chemical businesses, which were substantially impacted by the economic crisis, we see a clear trend toward recovery. We now can say with confidence that Merck will deliver what it promised earlier in the year," Kley said.

Research and development costs rose 17 percent to 333 million euros in the third quarter, largely due to the number of late-stage clinical trials. Among the new products being developed at the pharmaceuticals and chemicals divisions were a drug to treat multiple sclerosis and a fast and simple water purity test.


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