Merck KGaA boosts full-year guidance, as Q3 healthcare sales rise 10%, led by Mavenclad, China

Headline results for the third quarter:

Healthcare sales

€1.8 billion ($2 billion)


Overall revenue

€4.1 billion ($4.5 billion)



€343 million ($377 million)


Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

What the company said:

CEO Stefan Oschmann noted that Merck KGaA "substantially increased sales and earnings" during the third quarter, led by the "strong performance" of healthcare and life science. The company indicated that growth in the healthcare unit was "driven by sound uptake of Mavenclad and strong demand for general medicine mainly in China."

Other results:

  • Rebif: €318 million ($350 million), down 12.4%, due to the "continued  difficult competitive situation" in the interferon market in North America, as well as competition from oral multiple sclerosis drugs
  • Erbitux: €222 million ($244 million), up 5.1%, mainly as a result of the addition of the product to China's National Reimbursement Drug List
  • Gonal-f: €206 million ($227 million), up 13.1%, led by growth in North America and China
  • Mavenclad: €89 million ($98 million), versus €25 million ($28 million) in the prior year, boosted by US approval earlier this year to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis
  • Bavencio: €29 million ($32 million), up 52.5%, with FDA clearance in May for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma having a "positive impact" on sales
  • Life Sciences: €1.7 billion ($1.9 billion), up 12.3%

Looking ahead:

Merck now expects overall sales this year of between €15.7 billion ($17.3 billion) and €16.3 billion ($17.9 billion), lifted from a prior range of €15.3 billion ($16.8 billion) to €15.9 billion ($17.5 billion), boosted by the acquisition of Versum. The company noted that the guidance still reflects organic growth of 3% to 5%. Meanwhile, earnings are now predicted to be between €4.23 billion ($4.7 billion) and €4.43 billion ($4.9 billion), raised from an earlier estimated range of €4.15 billion ($4.6 billion) to €4.35 billion ($4.8 billion), continuing to represent organic growth of 10% to 13%.

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