By David Reed, UT EditorLeverkusen , Germany-The polycarbonates and polyurethanes business units were the main contributors to the "pleasing overall performance" of the MaterialScience sub-group of Bayer Group's results, the firm said in a 10 Aug. statement.Sales of this subgroup advanced 30.8 percent to €2734 million ($3365 million), while underlying EBIT rose 56.7 percent to €337 million, representing 12.3 percent on sales. No further breakdown of these results was presented in the firm's statement, but it added that "favourable market conditions helped the subgroup to implement what were in some cases substantial price increases." These helped Bayer MaterialScience offset "the significant rise in raw material costs" and allowed the firm to achieve the necessary margin improvements in key areas of the business."Total sales for Bayer Group increased by 19.7 percent in the second quarter, to €7053 million, while the operating result (EBIT) before special items increased 38.5 percent to €852 million, the statement said."The Bayer Group achieved its highest-ever underlying EBIT in the first half of 2005," commented Werner Wenning, chairman of the firm's management board, adding that this is "bringing us another step closer to meeting our profitability targets."Bayer Group sales for the first six months of 2005 rose 17.8 percent to €13 757 million, while EBIT before special items at €1994 million was up 44.9 percent. Reported EBIT also showed a substantial 38.4 percent improvement to €1750 million, the statement said. First-half net income increased by 87.3 percent to €1058 million, it added.About two-thirds of Bayer's sales growth was generated in Europe, the statement continued, with sales up 31.1 percent to €3188 million. Surprisingly, business grew faster than average in Germany, with sales up 47.8 percent to €1082 million, although Bayer pointed out that, after adjusting for portfolio effects, the improvement in Germany was only around 15 percent, and was partly due to strong performance by its HealthCare unit.Sales in North America climbed 5.2 percent to €1904 million. While MaterialScience reported good growth in this region, CropScience sales declined. Pharmaceuticals sales, too, were lower due to the effect of the Schering-Plough alliance, Bayer commented. Sales moved ahead by 17.2 percent in Asia/Pacific, and by 21.7 percent in the Latin America/Africa/Middle East region, with MaterialScience the main growth driver in both cases. In Greater China, second-quarter Group sales grew by more than 30 percent, the Bayer statement added.Looking ahead, Wenning said that Bayer will again improve its year-on-year operating performance in the second half of the year, with the MaterialScience unit expected to make the biggest contribution to earnings growth-depending on how the economy develops and on the trend in raw material prices. "We are therefore significantly raising our sales and earnings forecasts for the full year," he said. Bayer now expects Group sales to exceed €26 000 million against previous guidance of over €25 000 million. Underlying EBIT is forecast to rise by about 40 percent, double the previous guidance; EBIT in 2004 was €2117 million.The complete interim report as of June 30, 2005 is available at: www.investor.bayer.com"