New-drug sales boost plus OTC buyout yields $53B forecast for Bayer

Bayer is already coasting along sales-wise, with some powerhouse new drugs helping it beat analysts' third-quarter forecasts. And those sales will only keep on growing, the company said Thursday as it raised its revenue and profit forecasts.

The German pharma now predicts sales this year will touch €42 billion ($53 billion), with earnings rising by a mid-single-digit percentage--an update on the €41 billion sales haul and low- to mid-single-digit percentage it initially forecast.

Bayer's May pickup of Merck's ($MRK) consumer unit may have something to do with that. The business generated $2.2 billion for the New Jersey pharma giant in 2013 sales, and its addition created a Bayer unit that churned out combined sales of $7.4 billion last year, the company said at the time.

And according to CEO Marijn Dekkers, who has long said his goal is to top the world OTC market, more deals could be Bayer's short-term plan. "We are looking to expand our business in the future through both organic growth and acquisitions, he said on a conference call, as quoted by Reuters.

Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers

As for the organic growth, Bayer has plenty of it to go around. Pharma sales shot up 10.3% to €3.04 billion on the backs of some hot new sellers. Anticoagulant Xarelto, eye disease treatment Eylea, cancer meds Stivarga and Xofigo, and pulmonary hypertension treatment Adempas--tabbed as the company's growth drivers--hit €750 million for the quarter, up from €407 in the year-ago period.

A planned spinoff of the company's plastics business should help it sharpen its healthcare focus even further, Baader Helvea analyst Odile Rundquist told Bloomberg. "They really have two very strong franchises," and post-spinoff "margin should definitely be better."

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