Bayer said on March 3 that its 2008 net profit fell by more than 63%, because the year earlier figure had been boosted by one-off gains. The group reported strong activity at its HealthCare and CropScience divisions, while acknowledging that the hi-tech MaterialScience unit had taken a hit from the global economic slowdown.
Bayer's 2008 net profit came to to 1.7 billion euros (US$2.1 billion), down from 4.7 billion euros in 2007. In the fourth quarter of last year however, net profit jumped by 58% from the same period in 2007 to 106 million euros.
Company chairman Werner Wenning said that "from an operational standpoint, 2008 was the most successful year in Bayer's long history."
Group sales rose by 1.6% to 32.9 billion euros, and Bayer, the maker of Aspirin, said it would propose a dividend of 1.40 euros per share, an increase of 3.7% from the 2007 figure.
In 2009, "we expect further growth in earnings at HealthCare and CropScience, along with a substantial reduction in net debt," Wenning said. But "a substantial drop in earnings is anticipated at MaterialScience," the statement added.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009