Frankfurt: The German pharmaceutical and chemicals group Bayer said on Tuesday that its 2008 net profit fell by more than 63%, because the year earlier figure had been boosted by one-off gains.
The group reported strong activity at its HealthCare and CropScience divisions, while acknowledging that the hi-tech MaterialScience unit had taken a hit from the global economic slowdown.
Bayer’s 2008 net profit came to to €1.7 billion ($2.1 billion), a statement said, down from €4.7 billion in 2007.
In the fourth quarter of last year however, net profit jumped by 58% from the same period in 2007 to €106 million, a Bayer statement said.
Operating profit before exceptional items, which measures the company’s core activities, gained 2.3% to €6.9 billion, and the statement quoted chairman Werner Wenning as saying that “from an operational standpoint, 2008 was the most successful year in Bayer’s long history.”
Group sales rose by 1.6% to €32.9 billion, and Bayer, the maker of Aspirin, said it would propose a dividend of €1.40 per share, an increase of 3.7% from the 2007 figure.
In 2009, “we expect further growth in earnings at HealthCare and CropScience, along with a substantial reduction in net debt,” Wenning was quoted as saying.
But “a substantial drop in earnings is anticipated at MaterialScience,” the statement added.