As Bayer preps for its slim-down, a restructuring looms--but jobs are safe, CEO says

Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers

As Bayer moves closer to hiving off its plastics businesses and becoming a life sciences-focused company, a restructuring is afoot, the company said Wednesday. But it's one that won't cost the drugmaker any staff positions.

One of Bayer's four strategic priorities going forward is driving a "complete alignment" toward the life science businesses, and as part of that Bayer is examining its corporate structure and developing restructuring proposals, CEO Marijn Dekkers said at the German pharma's annual stockholders' meeting in Cologne. But he assured them the employee headcount would stay constant both in Bayer's home country and worldwide, emphasizing that "it is not about cutting jobs."

It's all part of the blueprint for a new, reimagined Bayer--one that will home in on its HealthCare and CropSciences units after floating its MaterialScience division by mid-2016 to achieve another of those strategic priorities. With the growth those life sciences businesses have seen lately, it's no surprise the company wants to focus on them.

Within HealthCare, pharma sales shot up 7% in Q1, Bayer said earlier this month, bolstered by the recent launches of 5 hot products. Blood thinner Xarelto, eye med Eylea, cancer therapies Stivarga and Xofigo, and pulmonary arterial hypertension treatment Adempas posted sales close to €900 million for that period, up from €600 million the year prior. And Bayer has said it's aiming for a combined €4 billion sales haul in 2015 for those meds, and 8% annual pharma growth through this year and next.

Newer products have chipped in on the CropScience side, too, Bayer said, and to keep that organic growth coming--another of Dekkers' four priorities--the company will shell out more than €4 billion on R&D this year, it said.

And the final objective? The company--which has said it's gunning for the worldwide consumer health lead--still has some work to finish off in terms of integrating recent OTC pickups. As it works to fold Merck's ($MRK) consumer unit, which it nabbed last year for $14.2 billion, and Chinese company Dihon Pharmaceutical, it plans to link them "as closely as possible" to its umbrella brand, a move it thinks will enhance sales that so far haven't measured up to analyst expectations.

"The Bayer Cross is a strong trademark throughout the world. It is a credible symbol of quality and reliability," Dekkers said in a statement.

- read Bayer's release

Special Reports: The top 15 pharma companies by 2014 revenue - Bayer | Pharma's top 10 M&A deals of 2014 - Bayer/Merck Consumer Health

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