Merck KGaA’s Q1 adjusted profit declines less than feared

By Thomson Reuters May 15, 2024 | 12:30 AM

By Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Merck KGaA on Wednesday reported better-than-expected adjusted earnings, helped by strong demand for its pharmaceuticals and amid currency-adjusted sales growth in semiconductor materials.

The German diversified group reported 8.4% lower first-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), adjusted for one-offs, at 1.45 billion euros ($1.57 billion).

That beat the average analyst estimate of 1.36 billion euros posted on the company’s website, helped by revenue from cancer drug Bavencio, which now fully accrues to Merck after former partner Pfizer left their alliance last year.

The electronics business also outperformed market expectations on strong demand for chemicals used to make data processing chips, but the company warned demand in other markets remained soft.

The German group said 2024 adjusted EBITDA would be in a range of 5.7 billion to 6.3 billion euros, compared with 5.9 billion euros last year.

It said that was in line with a previous forecast for “slight-to-moderate” currency-adjusted growth.

($1 = 0.9243 euros)

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger, Editing by Rachel More)