Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated
"Despite considerable pandemic-related obstacles in some businesses, overall we did well in the second quarter," remarked CEO Stefan Oschmann. Merck KGaA noted that sales in its healthcare segment were "more strongly affected" by the COVID-19 pandemic than the life sciences unit.
In particular, the company said that "as expected, the fertility business was hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic since many practices and clinics closed temporarily or reduced their treatment activities."
Merck now expects sales this year of between €16.9 billion ($20 billion) and €17.7 billion ($21 billion), with both ends of the range narrowed by $100 million ($118 million) from previous guidance. Meanwhile, earnings are now predicted to be in the range of €4.45 billion ($5.3 billion) to €4.85 billion ($5.7 billion), with the lower end of the forecast lifted from a prior estimate of €4.35 billion ($5.2 billion).
The company said that "the latest forecast assumes that there will be no widespread lockdowns owing to further disease waves (in China, Europe and the US) leading to considerably negative consequences for the economic recovery." However, Merck warned that "due to the high level of uncertainty with respect to the further development of the COVID-19 pandemic, this outlook is being made with a considerably higher degree of uncertainty."
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