Merck Chalks Up Record Results

Sales of the crystals used in flat screen televisions increased 52%

Chemical and pharmaceutical group Merck said on Feb. 21 that record 2010 results were boosted by strong markets for liquid crystals used in televisions and looked forward to more growth this year.

Sales of the crystals used in flat screen televisions reached a record one billion euros ($1.36 billion) last year, up 52%, the company said.

Merck's 2010 sales rose nearly 20% to a record 9.3 billion euros, with the fourth quarter showing a slight gain over the year-earlier period.

Net profit soared 70.3% to 641.5 million euros, Operating profit jumped 71.6% to 1.1 billion euros, in part thanks to the acquisition of the U.S. chemical group Millipore in July. The deal will allow Merck to broaden its range of products and help ensure its presence in the United States.

"With Merck Millipore, we want to position ourselves as the leading supplier to the life sciences industry," Merck chairman Karl-Ludwig Kley said.

For 2011, the company expects sales to rise 13%-18% and operating profit to jump by 35%-45%.

Fourth quarter results were not quite as good however, partly owing to a 67-million-euro charge Merck took in connection with legal issues facing its former U.S. subsidiary Dey. Fourth quarter net profit fell 17.9% to 46.5 million euros.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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