If you want more confirmation that drugmakers can grow sales even in this market, look no further than Merck KGaA. The German company expects to grow revenues between 6 percent and 8 percent this year, within its earlier guidance of 5-9 percent. And it's still predicting margins of at least 23 percent on those sales.
For the quarter, Merck reported profits of €200.1 million, or $251.8 million, compared with €36.2 million a year ago (when the company booked a €183 million charge on its buyout of Serono). Revenues for the quarter grew 8.7 percent to €1.89 billion. And unlike U.S. companies, whose sales were often inflated by currency gains, Merck's numbers reflect a "considerable" negative impact from currency, cutting organic sales growth by 4.8 percent.
Digging deeper, Merck's fastest-growing drugs were Erbitux, the cancer treatment marketed in the U.S. by Bristol-Myers Squibb and ImClone Systems, which mushroomed by 13 percent to €134 million. Rebif, Merck's multiple sclerosis treatment, grew by 10 percent to €338 million.
- read the story in the Wall Street Journal