Merck increases revenue by 3.7% in 2014

Offer to acquire Sigma-Aldrich and alliance with Pfizer in immuno-oncology has laid the foundations for future growth

Karl-Ludwig Kley. Picture courtesy of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt

German pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA reported a year of strategically important moves and says it achieved its objectives in 2014. The company strengthened both its Healthcare and Life Science businesses.

'With the offer to acquire Sigma-Aldrich and the alliance with Pfizer in immuno-oncology, we have laid the foundations for future growth,' said Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Executive Board of Merck.

Total revenues rose by 3.7% to €11.5bn in 2014 (2013: €11.1bn). EBITDA pre one-time items, climbed 4.1% to €3.4bn (2013: €3.3bn).

Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck, recorded organic sales growth of 3.6% in 2014. Including negative foreign exchange effects of -1.9%, divisional sales rose overall by 1.7% to €5.8bn. Almost all of Merck Serono's franchises contributed to growth, with the highest absolute sales increase coming from the Fertility franchise. From a geographic perspective, Merck Serono achieved the strongest growth in the Emerging Markets region.

The drug Rebif, for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, posted a slight organic sales decline of -0.2% in 2014, despite increasing competitive pressure from oral formulations. Rebif sales amounted to €1.8bn.

The business performance of our marketed medicines was robust in 2014

Sales of the oncology drug Erbitux grew organically by 5.9%. Including negative foreign exchange effects of -3.4%, sales of Erbitux rose overall by €22m to €904m. With Gonal-f, the leading recombinant hormone used in the treatment of infertility, Merck achieved organic sales growth of 9.1% in 2014. Including adverse foreign exchange effects, sales of Gonal-f rose to €628m.

'The business performance of our marketed medicines was robust in 2014,' said Kley. 'Furthermore, we set an important milestone in further developing our pharmaceutical pipeline in 2014 by entering into an alliance in immuno-oncology with Pfizer. This will help us to fully exploit the potential of our anti-PD-L1 compound avelumab.'

Merck Millipore, the life science business of the Merck Group, posted solid organic sales growth of 4.5% in 2014, primarily driven by the good performance of the Process Solutions business area. From a geographic perspective, sales developed positively in the Emerging Markets region. Including a negative foreign exchange impact and taking into account the divestment of the Discovery and Development Solutions business field, sales rose overall by 2.1% to €2.7bn (2013: €2.6bn). EBITDA pre one-time items of Merck Millipore increased by 2.5% to €659m (2013: €643m).

The Process Solutions business area, which markets products used in pharmaceutical production, generated especially strong organic sales growth of 8.9%. This was mainly driven by increasing demand from the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry for consumables as well as purification solutions.

'We provide patients, customers and society with solutions that deliver growth. Our Life Science business is a perfect example of this,' said Kley.

'Through the planned acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich, we want to expand it and offer our customers working in science and industry worldwide a considerably broader range of products.'