Merck KGaA adjusts full-year guidance as healthcare sales fall 10.6% in Q2

Headline results for the second quarter:

  • Healthcare sales: €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion), down 10.6%
  • Overall revenue: €4.1 billion ($4.9 billion), up 3.7%
  • Profit: €289 million ($342 million), down 38.6%

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

What the company said:

"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."

Other results:

  • Rebif: €290 million ($344 million), down 12.4%
  • Glucophage: €226 million ($268 million), down 4.8%
  • Erbitux: €207 million ($245 million), down 2.1%
  • Gonal-f: €112 million ($133 million), down 41.1%
  • Mavenclad: €82 million ($97 million), up 34.2%, with prescription rates declining as expected during the COVID-19 pandemic, although "signs of a recovery already emerged in June"
  • Bavencio: €30 million ($36 million), up 28.3%
  • Life Sciences: €1.8 billion ($2.1 billion), up 5.9%, boosted by increased orders in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic

Looking ahead:

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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