Merck KGaA hikes full-year outlook after posting increase in Q2 sales, profit

Headline results for the second quarter:

  • Healthcare sales: €1.8 billion ($2.1 billion), up 19.2%
  • Overall revenue: €4.9 billion ($5.8 billion), up 18.2%
  • Profit: €747 million ($884 million), versus €289 million ($342 million) in the prior year

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

What the company said:

"We have succeeded in mobilising for accelerated, efficient growth in all business sectors. Especially our Big 3, our healthcare pipeline, process solutions and semiconductor solutions, contributed to [our] excellent Q2 performance," commented Merck KGaA chief executive Belén Garijo.

Other results:

  • Erbitux: €273 million ($323 million), up 31.7%, boosted by temporary contract manufacturing of the active ingredient for Eli Lilly
  • Rebif: €247 million ($292 million), down 14.6%
  • Glucophage: €213 million ($252 million), down 5.8%
  • Gonal-f: €200 million ($237 million), up 78.2%, with strong demand coupled to the temporary closures of fertility clinics in the prior year due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Mavenclad: €157 million ($186 million), up 91.3%, driven by the recovery of the segment for high-efficacy multiple sclerosis therapies
  • Bavencio: €87 million ($103 million), up from €30 million ($36 million) in the prior year, mainly due to approvals in the US, Europe and Japan as a first-line maintenance treatment for locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma
  • Life Sciences: €2.2 billion ($2.6 billion), up 23.2%

Looking ahead:

Merck now expects sales this year of between €18.8 billion ($22.3 billion) and €19.7 billion ($23.3 billion), boosted from a prior estimated range of €18.5 billion ($21.9 billion) to €19.5 billion ($23.1 billion), mainly driven by Mavenclad, Bavencio and the recovery of its fertility products. Meanwhile, earnings per share are forecast to be between €7.80 ($9.23) and €8.50 ($10.06), lifted from a previous prediction of €7.50 ($8.88) to €8.20 ($9.71).

With regards to the coronavirus pandemic, the company said it "does not expect that further disease waves will have a negative effect comparable to that seen in the first half of 2020, especially on the healthcare…business."

However, for 2022, Merck indicated that new products from its development pipeline will only lift sales in its healthcare unit by between €1.6 billion ($1.9 billion) and €1.8 billion ($2.1 billion), down from a previous estimate of around €2 billion ($2.4 billion). The company explained that while it still expects peak Mavenclad sales of between €1 billion ($1.2 billion) and €1.4 billion ($1.7 billion), hitting this goal will occur at a later date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Merck said it expects "significant pandemic-related sales" in 2022 for the Life Science business.

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