Bayer: Solid business development despite COVID-19 influence

Employee safety and maintaining the supply chain continue to have top priority / Group sales (WPB). Down 2.5 per cent to 10.054 billion euros / EBITDA before special items increased by 5.6 per cent to 2.883 billion euros / Crop Science with operating growth / Sales and earnings at Pharmaceuticals mainly impacted by a volume-based purchasing policy in China and COVID-19 / Consumer Health with WPB. Slight decline in sales after strong demand in the previous quarter / Group earnings due to special effects from legal cases at minus EUR 9.548 billion – agreements in key Monsanto litigation complexes / Adjusted earnings per share increased by 5.3 per cent to EUR 1.59 / Free cash flow increased to EUR 1.402 billion / Forecast adjusted due to COVID-19.

Leverkusen, August 4, 2020 – Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated uncertainties, the Bayer Group’s business developed solidly in the second quarter of 2020. with strong ability in identifying new business opportunities.“Thanks to the growth in the agricultural business, we increased EBITDA before special items – and that under difficult conditions,” said CEO Werner Baumann on Tuesday when the half-yearly financial report was presented. In the Pharmaceuticals and Consumer Health divisions, however, sales decreased.
he also added: “The safety and well-being of our employees and society are our primary concerns during corona pandemic.”
Bayer is also implementing the necessary measures to ensure operations in these challenging times to secure. Hospitals, doctors, and Safely provide products and services to patients, consumers and farmers. Bayer has adjusted its forecast for the current fiscal year due to the pandemic.

The legal cases in the USA also shaped the second quarter of 2020. On June 24th, Bayer announced that it had entered into product liability agreements regarding Roundup ™ (active ingredient: glyphosate) without admitting any guilt or misconduct. Total expected costs of up to 10.9 billion US dollars for the settlement of the current approximately 125,000 filed and un-filed glyphosate lawsuits and the conduct and settlement of possible future legal disputes. On July 6, 2020, Judge Chhabria of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California raised concerns about some aspects of the proposed class-action agreement. This agreement, intended to regulate possible future legal disputes regarding Roundup ™, requires Chhabria’s approval. The parties then decided to withdraw their motion to deal comprehensively with the court’s questions. Bayer continues to advocate a solution that simultaneously resolves the current legal disputes on reasonable terms and regulates the conduct and settlement of potential future legal conflicts sustainably.

On July 20, 2020, the California Court of Appeals upheld the verdict on Dewayne Johnson, one of the three cases still appealing. Still, it reduced the total damages from $ 78.5 million to approximately $ 20.5 million -Dollar. The company will review its legal options, including an appeal to the Supreme Court of California. There were also agreements in the procedures for the drifting of Dicamba and is a significant part of PCB procedures (polychlorinated biphenyls) in water.

Recently, discussions about possible comparisons connected with Essure ™, a medical device for permanent contraception without surgery, have been intensified. These have made good progress in the past few weeks. Bayer, therefore, made appropriate provisions in the second quarter. Pharmaceuticals incurred extraordinary litigation charges of 1.245 billion euros, primarily for Essure ™.

Adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations increased.

Consolidated sales decreased in the 2nd quarter after adjusting for currency and portfolio effects (Fx & portfolio adj.) By 2.5 per cent to 10.054 billion euros. EBITDA pre exceptionals rose by 5.6 per cent to 2.883 billion euros. Including adverse currency effects of 12 million euros. The Bayer Group’s EBIT was minus EUR 10.784 billion (previous year: plus EUR 785 million). This includes certain expenses totalling 12.511 billion (834 million) euros. These were mainly related to the provisions for the agreements made concerning glyphosate and dicamba and PCB. Also, one-time charges resulted from litigation expenses at Pharmaceuticals mostly related to Essure TM and the ongoing restructuring program. The group result was minus 9.548 billion (plus 404 million) euros. The adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations rose by 5.3 per cent to 1.59 euros.

Free cash flow was 1.402 billion (751 million) euros. Net financial debt increased by 1.7 per cent as of June 30, 2020, compared to March 31, 2020, to 35.993 billion euros. The inflow of funds from operating activities and positive currency effects largely compensated for the dividend payments.

Crop Science is growing in three out of four regions.

In the agricultural business (Crop Science), Bayer increased sales (Fx & portfolio adj.). by 3.2 per cent to 4.802 billion euros. The regions Latin America, Asia / Pacific and North America, contributed to this. In the area of ​​corn seeds and plant traits, the division continued to wpb. 2.7 per cent more, in particular, due to significant volume increases in Brazil. The increase in herbicides was (Fx & portfolio adj.). to 3.3 per cent – thanks to increased sales and purchases brought forward in Latin America and noticeably expanded business in North America. Soybean seeds and plant traits increased significantly (Fx & portfolio adj. By 9.3 per cent). The company recovered in North America with an increase in acreage and shifts in demand due to uncertainties related to COVID-19. In Latin America, an increased market share had a positive effect. Sales of insecticides rose (Fx & portfolio adj.). by 4.5 per cent because business in Latin America and Asia / Pacific regions grew. On the other hand, the most transparent percentage decline (Fx & portfolio adj. 5.0 per cent) was in the vegetable seeds segment. North America was significantly affected, where shifts in demand to the following quarters and the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted.

Crop Science’s EBITDA pre exceptionals increased by 28.4 per cent to EUR 1.365 billion. The increase is mainly due to the accelerated realisation of cost synergies from the acquired businesses’ ongoing integration and increased sales.

Pharmaceuticals burdened by COVID-19 and volume-based purchasing policy in China

Sales of prescription drugs (Pharmaceuticals) fell (Fx & portfolio adj.). by 8.8 per cent to 3.992 billion euros. The worldwide contact restrictions and protective measures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic led to a reduced number or postponement of unnecessary treatments in medical practices and clinics, which significantly affected products in women’s health, ophthalmology and radiology. However, there were slight signs of recovery towards the end of the 2nd quarter. In China, business development was further negatively impacted by implementing a new volume-based purchasing policy, which leads to significant price reductions for products whose patent protection has expired.

Bayer achieved sales growth of wpb with the oral anticoagulant Xarelto ™. 6.8 per cent, mainly due to higher sales in China, Russia and Germany. The cancer drug Stivarga ™ (Fx & portfolio adj. 24.8 per cent) and Adempas ™ for pulmonary hypertension treatment (Fx & portfolio adj. 23.6 per cent) were influential. Demand for both increased, particularly in the USA. Stivarga ™ sales also increased in China. The oral formulation of the drug also had an advantageous effect, as it enables the treatment to be continued outside of clinics and doctor’s offices.

The eye medicine Eylea ™ fell (Fx & portfolio adj.). by 6.4 per cent. This is due to a reduced number of treatments. In addition to introducing the Eylea ™ pre-filled syringe in Europe and Japan, this development was tempered by higher overall sales in Japan. Also connected with the pandemic, there was a particularly significant decline in sales in the business with the Mirena ™ / Kyleena ™ / Jaydess ™ IUDs (Fx & portfolio adj. 37.0 per cent). In particular, in the USA, significantly fewer products were used due to missing or postponed visits to the doctor. Sales of the anti-diabetic drug Glucobay ™ went down on a competitive basis. 73.8 per cent down – mainly due to the implementation of the volume-based purchasing policy in China and the associated significant price reduction, which the resulting volume growth cannot compensate.

Pharmaceuticals EBITDA pre exceptionals declined 7.1 per cent to 1.368 billion euros, primarily due to declining sales.

Consumer Health (wpb) with slightly reduced sales

Sales of non-prescription health products (Consumer Health) decreased (Fx & portfolio adj.). by 1.9 per cent to 1.201 billion euros. After a robust previous quarter, the second quarter, as expected, resulted in a reduction in inventory levels in the retail sector and consumer stocks. The effects of the quarantine and protective measures in various regions, which led to lower customer frequency in shops, were also decisive for the decline. Sales rose most significantly in the dietary supplements category (Fx & portfolio adj. 14.4 per cent). In comparison, sales fell the most in the allergy and cold category (Fx & portfolio adj. By 17.2 per cent).

Consumer Health’s EBITDA pre exceptionals decreased by 10.9 per cent to 254 million euros, mainly due to the COVID-19-related decline in sales and the lack of earnings contributions from the businesses sold in 2019 of around 35 million euros on balance.

Outlook for 2020 adjusted

The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic remains challenging to assess. Bayer is adjusting the forecast published in February 2020 based on the business development in the first half of the year and assuming uncertainty about the further course of the year as follows: The company expects business to normalise overall for Pharmaceuticals and Consumer Health but does not believe that Pharmaceuticals will determine that the originally assumed growth is achieved. The Crop Science division expects a cautious start to the new 2021 season in North America, partly due to the pandemic-related reduced demand for bioenergy, animal feed, and fibres, which is likely to lead to a decline in the expected acreage. And on the other hand due to the continuing competition in the soybean market.

This has resulted in the following changes to the Bayer Group’s key financial figures. Sales expected to increase to 43 to 44 (previously: 44 to 45) billion euros after adjusting for currency effects. Adjusted for currency and portfolio changes, this now corresponds to an increase of 0 to 1 (previously: around 3 to 4) per cent. Adjusted for special items, the EBITDA margin should continue to rise to about 28 per cent after adjusting for currency effects. Based on the sales mentioned above, this now corresponds to a currency-adjusted EBITDA pre exceptionals of around EUR 12.1 (previously: 12.3 to 12.6) billion euros. Adjusted earnings per share are now expected to increase to EUR 6.70 to 6.90 (yet: rise to EUR 7.00 to 7.20) after adjusting for currency effects.

Bayer also expects significantly adverse currency effects – in particular, due to the devaluation of the Brazilian real. Based on the exchange rates as of June 30, the company now expects consolidated sales between 42 and 43 billion euros for 2020, an adjusted EBITDA margin of 28 per cent and adjusted earnings per share between 6.40 and 6.60 euros.

For the free cash flow, the company now expects a charge from payments for the settlement of legal disputes for 4.5 billion euros, which was not included in the initial planning and can be assessed as unscheduled and aperiodic. It should now be minus 0.5 billion or balanced. Bayer expects that these payments’ financing will only reduce net financial debt to around 33 (previously: approximately 27) billion euros. Currency developments are unlikely to have any material impact on free cash flow and net financial debt.

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