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Merck KgaA Q1 Profit Declines, Sales Up; Confirms FY19 Organic Growth Forecast

German science and technology company Merck KGaA (MKGAY.PK) reported Tuesday that its first-quarter net income decreased 44.7 percent to 189 million euros from last year's 341 million euros. Earnings per share declined to 0.43 euro from 0.78 euro last year.

Earnings per share pre were 1.13 euros, compared to 1.33 euros last year.

Group EBIT declined 24.6 percent from last year to 379 million euros, due to the absence of positive one-time effects from the previous year as well as exchange rate factors.

EBITDA pre, the company's most important earnings indicator, declined 4 percent to 929 million euros. Organically, EBITDA pre declined 2 percent.

Net sales, however, rose 7.5 percent to 3.7 billion euros from last year's 3.5 billion euros. Organically, Group sales increased 5.7 percent, driven by all three business sectors.

Currency-driven sales increased 2 percent.

Looking ahead for fiscal 2019, Merck confirmed organic forecast for sales and earnings and expects a more favorable exchange rate development.

The company expects Group EBITDA pre to be in a corridor between 4.15 billion euros and 4.35 billion euros, higher than last year's 3.80 billion euros.

Merck confirmed its original expectation of a strong organic increase of 10 percent to 13 percent in EBITDA pre. Owing to the updated exchange rate assumption, Merck expects a slightly positive effect of 0 percent to 2 percent growth, compared to previous view of 3 percent to 4 percent decline.

Merck continues to expect a moderate organic net sales increase of 3 percent to 5 percent over the previous year.

Merck now forecasts Group net sales of 15.3 billion euros to 15.9 billion euros for 2019.

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