Leverkusen, Germany - Bayer Group says it had a successful start to 2012. "All the subgroups contributed to the encouraging increase in sales, particularly CropScience, which experienced a strong start to the season," chairman Dr Marijn Dekkers explained 26 April, when the group's first-quarter interim report was published.
Earnings rose sharply. "In view of the good start to 2012, we are increasingly confident for the rest of the year," Dekkers added. Given the continuing uncertainties, however, he said Bayer is currently adhering to the guidance for 2012 that was issued at the end of February.
In its polyurethanes business, Bayer said sales rose by 4.7 percent (Fx & portfolio adj.), while in high-tech plastics (pPolycarbonates) sales were down by 4.2 percent (Fx & portfolio adj.) mainly as a result of lower selling prices, Bayer said.
Sales of raw materials for coatings, adhesives and specialties improved by 3.9 percent (Fx & portfolio adj.) thanks to growth in all product groups, while the Industrial Operations unit grew by 8.9 percent (Fx & portfolio adj.).
Bayer said its MaterialScience unit has been "burdened by persisting high raw material costs." Sales for BMS rose by 3.8 percent (Fx & portfolio adj. 2.5 percent) in Q1, to Euro 2788 million.
"Bayer MaterialScience achieved higher volumes in all regions, while selling prices as a whole were level with the prior-year quarter," said Dekkers. Price increases in the Latin America/Africa/Middle East, North America and Europe regions offset declines in Asia/Pacific. "However, earnings of MaterialScience remained under pressure because of high raw material costs," he explained.
Earnings (EBITDA before special items) of Bayer MaterialScience were down by 19.4 percent year on year at Euro 278 million, but Dekkers said these "more than doubled against the weak fourth quarter of 2011 (Euro 106 million)."
Earnings were "diminished above all by a rise in raw material costs," Bayer said, while higher operating costs also had a negative impact. Positive effects came from efficiency improvements, increased volumes and a one-time gain of Euro 19 million on the acquisition of the remaining interest in the cast elastomer joint venture Baulé SAS.
Total sales of Bayer Group rsoe by 6.8 percent in Q1, to a record Euro 10 056 million: adjusted for currency and portfolio effects, business expanded by 5.2 percent. Operating earnings (EBIT) climbed by 42.6 percent to Euro 1637 million, with special items totalling minus Euro 169 million.