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Source: Bayer news release

Leverkusen - The Bayer Group had a successful start to 2021. "We're seeing a good operational performance overall, but we were impacted by negative currency effects as expected," said CEO Werner Baumann when the quarterly statement for the first quarter of 2021 was published on Wednesday. "Our Crop Science Division achieved encouraging sales growth in an improved market environment. Sales at Pharmaceuticals were steady, and in the Consumer Health Division we performed better than the competition." The company confirmed the full-year outlook it issued in February 2021.

Group sales in the first quarter rose by 2.8 percent on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis (Fx & portfolio adj.) to 12.328 billion euros. EBITDA before special items fell by 6.2 percent to 4.118 billion euros. Negative currency effects impacted sales by 938 million euros and EBITDA before special items by 337 million euros.

EBIT increased by 23.4 percent to 3.083 billion euros. This included net special gains of 15 million euros (Q1 2020: net special charges of 639 million euros), with income from a patent dispute related to the blood-clotting medicine Jivi™ more than offsetting the expenses for the ongoing restructuring program. Net income rose by 40.3 percent to 2.089 billion euros. Core earnings per share from continuing operations fell by 3.0 percent to 2.59 euros.

Growth at Crop Science, especially in Latin America and Asia/Pacific

Bayer lifted sales in its agricultural business (Crop Science) by 6.4 percent (Fx & portfolio adj.) to 6.646 billion euros, with particularly strong growth in the Latin America and Asia/Pacific regions. Sales at Herbicides advanced by a significant 13.3 percent - mainly as a result of volume gains in all regions and higher prices, especially for Roundup. Business also improved substantially at Fungicides (plus 22.0 percent) and Vegetable Seeds (plus 13.9 percent). The Fungicides business benefited from volume and price increases in the Latin America region, particularly for the product Fox Xpro.

This business also expanded in Asia/Pacific as the market situation normalized following the previous year's restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales at Vegetable Seeds rose in all regions. The 3.4 percent (Fx & portfolio adj.) increase in sales at Soybean Seed & Traits was driven by volume gains in North America.

Sales at Corn Seed & Traits remained at the level of the prior-year quarter (Fx & portfolio adj. minus 0.4 percent). This business developed positively in the Europe/Middle East/Africa region and in Latin America, partly as a result of higher prices, whereas it shrank in North America, in part due to a license expiration.

EBITDA before special items at Crop Science decreased by 6.2 percent to 2.448 billion euros, giving a margin of 36.8 percent. Positive effects from price and volume increases and the contributions from the ongoing efficiency programs did not fully offset the negative currency effects of 252 million euros.

As regards the litigation involving glyphosate-based Roundup products in the United States, approximately 96,000 current claims overall are covered by settlement agreements, or did not meet the settlement program eligibility criteria. The company continues to negotiate with plaintiffs' counsel to reach agreements in the remainder of current cases. A new proposal for the management of future cases agreed upon with and supported by plaintiffs' class counsel has been submitted to the responsible judge in California for preliminary approval. For the revised proposal, both parties worked diligently to address the points mentioned by the court.

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