By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com -- German conglomerate Bayer (ETR: BAYGN ) took another step on the road to recovery on Tuesday, posting strong first-quarter earnings thanks to a revived consumer health segment and a crop science business supported by soaring prices for agricultural commodities.
Core earnings per share rose 36% to 3.53 euros ($3.70) a share as crop science sales - consisting mostly of sales and pesticides - rose 22% and consumer health sales rose 17% in constant currencies.
“Our forecast going forward this year remains confident despite the great uncertainties, including the stability of supply chains and energy supplies, and we confirm the currency-adjusted outlook for the full year published in March,” chief executive Werner Baumann said in a statement.
Baumann has come under intense pressure from shareholders after his mammoth takeover deal for Monsanto landed the company with legal liabilities running into billions of euros. Over three-quarters of shareholders voted against the company's executive compensation plan last week, venting their unhappiness at years of underperformance.
The Monsanto acquisition has at least had the effect of diversifying sales away from Europe and toward North America, something that has protected it against the geopolitical turmoil in its home region.
"Group sales and earnings were not negatively impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the first quarter," Bayer said, adding that neither Russia nor Ukraine is in its top ten markets. In total, they account for around 3% of group sales.
Bayer stock still lagged the broader DAX index at the open, rising only 0.7% by 3:10 AM ET (0710 GMT). The DAX rose by 1.1%, bouncing after following U.S. markets sharply lower on Monday.
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