FRANKFURT AM MAIN: German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer said on Wednesday its profits soared last year, and it is confident the planned mega-merger with US seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto will go ahead this year.
Net profit at the Leverkusen-based maker of Aspirin jumped 62 percent to 7.3 billion euros ($8.9 billion) last year.
Operating, or underlying profit grew 2.9 percent to 5.9 billion euros on the back of almost flat revenues at 35 billion euros.
“2017 was a year of ups and downs on the operative level,” Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said, pointing to unfavourable currency effects and unplanned costs, including some related to the Monsanto merger, that burdened the operating result.
Nevertheless, “we have made a lot of progress towards the planned Monsanto takeover,” he added.
If the $66-billion tie-up proceeds, it will be the largest in German corporate history.
The deal has already been approved by more than half of the regulatory authorities around the world that need to give it a green light, Bayer said.
But one of the weightiest competition watchdogs, the European Commission, has yet to do so.
Bayer has now pushed back the date by which it hopes to complete the deal from early 2018 to sometime between April and June.
Looking at Bayer’s different divisions, the pharmaceuticals division reported slightly higher revenues, but a leap in profits, while the animal health unit saw a small slip in profits, even as revenues increased.
Meanwhile, revenues and profits fell for both over-the-counter medicines and the agrochemical business.
For 2018, Bayer said it expects revenues to remain steady, but it is pencilling in a “mid-single-digit percentage” increase in profits.