Merck KGaA 1Q Net Profit Falls 12%

By Christopher Alessi Features Dow Jones Newswires

German chemicals and pharmaceuticals company Merck KGaA (MRK.XE) reported a 12% decline in net profit for the first quarter of 2017.

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Net profit for the period ended March 31 fell to EUR521 million ($580.4 million) from EUR591 million a year earlier. Analysts had predicted a net profit of EUR540 million, according to a recent poll compiled by FactSet. Net profit was mainly down as a result of a divestment gain that boosted earnings in the year-earlier period.

However, the company's closely-watched earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization before one-time items rose by 14.5% to EUR1.2 billion, driven by the health care and life sciences businesses. Sales grew by 5.3% to EUR3.9 billion, helped partly by positive currency effects.

For the current year, Merck said it expects net sales in a range of EUR15.5 billion and EUR16 billion, while Ebitda before one-time items should be in a range of EUR4.4 billion to EUR4.6 billion.

Write to Christopher Alessi at christopher.alessi@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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May 18, 2017 01:43 ET (05:43 GMT)