By Ludwig Burger
FRANKFURT (Reuters) -Agriculture and pharmaceuticals company Bayer on Tuesday reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings as higher prices for glyphosate-based weedkillers made up for a decline in sales of its stroke prevention pill Xarelto.
The German company said in a statement third-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 17.3% to 2.45 billion euros ($2.45 billion), above analysts’ average estimate of 2.31 billion euros posted on the company’s website.
Finance chief Wolfgang Nickl said year-on-year sales growth was mainly driven by higher prices for glyphosate but prices had already begun to drop during the third quarter.
“We expect them to normalize further in the fourth quarter,” he said.
Bayer said its full-year outlook issued in August still stood, but it added that cost inflation would continue next year. The shares fell 2.3%, erasing gains over the previous two trading sessions as analysts voiced concerns over the cost outlook.
Bayer has been hit by litigation costs over cancer claims by mostly individual users of glyphosate-based weedkiller. But demand for the product class from farmers, the crop science unit’s main customer group, has not been dented by the legal disputes.
It said in August it was targeting adjusted EBITDA of about 13 billion euros, based on June 30 foreign exchange rates, up from 11.2 billion in 2021.
The crop science division saw adjusted EBITDA gain 33.5% to 629 million euros, beating a market consensus of 589 million euros, as a strong glyphosate business more than offset weaker corn and soy seed sales.
Its best-selling drug Xarelto saw sales decline 6.2% to 1.11 billion euros in the quarter, slightly below market estimates, on lower prices and volumes in China as well as loss of patent protection in Brazil.
Revenues from anti-blindness treatment Eylea rose 6.3% to 811 million euros, gaining prescriptions in Europe and China, but also came in slightly below expectations.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger Editing by Kirsti Knolle, Mark Potter and Louise Heavens)