Leverkusen, Germany - In its first quarter results statement, German polymers, pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals group Bayer AG said it started 2010 with strong sales and earnings growth. "Bayer is well on track - and we plan to grow again this year," said chairman Werner Wenning.
The 29 April statement said the group posted a "clear recovery in an increasingly stabilising market environment, achieving better-than-expected sales growth against the very weak prior-year quarter."
And the group said its high-tech materials business, Bayer MaterialScience, "got off to a successful start in 2010," with sales up by 35.5 percent (Fx adj. 37.9 percent), to Euro 2216 million ($2937 million -- Q1 2009: Euro 1636 million). This was a marked gain from the very weak Q1 of 2009, which, Bayer said "was weighed down by the economic and financial crisis."
Business in BMS, which produces polyurethanes, polycarbonates and coatings, adhesives and specialities (CAS), also gained 9.9 percent over the fourth quarter of 2009. "All business units contributed to this significant improvement with higher volumes and selling price increases," Wenning reported.
Business with polyurethanes raw materials for foams expanded by 33.4 percent (Fx adj.) in the first quarter, with double-digit growth rates for all product groups, Bayer noted, saying there were even greater increases in sales of polycarbonates (Fx adj. plus 56.9 percent) and CAS raw materials (Fx adj. plus 52.6 percent).
EBITDA before special items of BMS improved markedly, Bayer said, to Euro 287 million, against a loss of Euro 116 million in the prior-year quarter. "This positive performance was mainly the result of considerably higher volumes and the related increase in capacity utilisation at our production facilities," the company pointed out.
Total sales for Bayer Group rose by 5.3 percent in the first quarter to Euro 8316 million, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) - before special items - expanded by 13.2 percent to Euro 1918 million