Leverkusen, Germany - First-quarter earnings at Bayer MaterialScience dropped by 26.9% to €204 million ($267 million), due to a "sharp rise in raw material prices", the company said in its Q1 report.
The MaterialScience business posted sales of €2.8 billion in the first quarter of 2013, matching the prior-year period. "An overall increase in selling prices for our high-tech materials compensated for a drop in volumes in Europe and North America," commented management board chairman Marijn Dekkers.
The polyurethanes business improved by 4.4%, driven by higher selling prices in all product groups and regions. Volumes declined overall despite increases in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, mainly due to lower sales in Europe and a maintenance shutdown in North America, Bayer said in the 25 April report.
Looking to the year ahead, Bayer is expecting a slight increase in MaterialScience sales to about €12 billion. Bayer said that in light of the business development in the first quarter, it is now aiming for earnings (EBITDA before special items) to approximately match the prior-year figure, where previously the company had forecast further improvements.
For the Bayer group as a whole, sales grew by 2.1 %, totalling €10.3 billion, while earnings (EBITDA before special items) remained roughly static at €2.5 billion.