Bayer AG (BAYRY) , the German health and chemicals conglomerate that is buying Monsanto Co. (MON) , fell over 3% Thursday, after posting third quarter sales of €8.03 billion ($9.49 billion), about 4% below analyst expectations on disappointing sales at its pharmaceutical and consumer health units.
Bayer stock traded early Thursday at €110.32, down €3.68 or 3.2% on their Wednesday close.
Total group sales rose 1.2% in the third quarter, compared to a year earlier and at constant exchange rates, but hit by a stronger euro, which left the reported figure, including currency movements, down 2.8% on the same period last year. Earnings before special items rose 4.1% to €2.2 billion.
"While our Pharmaceuticals Division maintained its course of growth, business at Consumer Health was weak as expected," Bayer's Chairman Werner Baumann told analysts at a presentation on Thursday. "Crop Science and Animal Health posted sales gains but saw earnings decline."
Bayer's consumer health unit has struggled to maintain growth momentum in the U.S. where pricing pressure from pharmacy chains has weighed on pricing, while the company also posted weak returns from Russia. Bayer said the U.S. market remains "challenging."
In the pharmaceuticals business, sales of Bayer's oral anticoagulant Xarelto, the company's best-selling treatment, were notably disappointing - coming in at €799 million for the quarter, up 6.6% on a constant currency basis but still about 10% below analyst consensus expectations.
The health of Bayer's share price matters more than usual at the moment as the company plans to sell about €10 billion of shares and convertible bonds to help fund its $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto.
Leverkusen-based Bayer earlier this month agreed to sell its LibertyLink traits and Liberty herbicide operations to fellow German chemicals group BASF SE for €5.9 billion, removing a key antitrust obstacle to a deal and raising cash for the acquisition. Baumann said Thursday that the success of that sale had prompted a possible revision of the "equity component of the financing" of the Monsanto acquisition.
Bayer also not it has now received about a third of the necessary regulatory approvals for the deal, though the key approvals from the E.U. and the U.S. remain outstanding.
Bayer has also been selling down stakes in its former plastics unit Covestro AG, reducing its holding to 24.6% and will decline to exercise special voting rights, meaning that Covestro had now been deconsolidated and would appear as an investment in Bayer's next quarterly report.
Bayer said it still expected sales of between €35 billion and €36 billion for the full year 2017, equating to a low-single-digit increase on a currency and portfolio adjusted basis. The group's earning sforecast of "slightly above" 2016 was also left unchanged. Bayer cut its outlook for pharmaceutical sales from "more than €17 billion" to "approximately €17 billion."
Bayer's net debt was halved over the third quarter, falling to €4.7 billion in preparation for its Monsanto acquisition.
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