Germany's Bayer boost cash reserves

6th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer said Sunday it has boosted its cash reserves five-fold to some 3.8 billion euros as insurance against any unexpected downturn in the economy.

"We have available liquidity of 3.8 billion euros ($5.2 billion) ... we are sort of paying an insurance premium," finance director Werner Baumann told the weekend edition of Borsen Zeitung.

Baumann said these funds could be accessed easily if needed, noting "we have an unacceptably high level of unpaid bills due in the public sector, especially in Portugal, Italy and Spain."

Eurozone member Portugal, like Greece and Ireland bailed out by the EU and International Monetary Fund to save them from default, has slashed public spending in an effort to balance its books, dampening the economy.

In Italy and Spain, seen as the next possible victims of the debt crisis, there have been payment delays on bills which were normally settled within 30 to 60 days, Baumann said.

Such overdue bills now total hundreds of millions of euros but Baumann said Bayer would not halt deliveries.

"In the interests of our patients, we would not go that far," he said.

Bayer last month reported that its net profit jumped 125 percent to 642 million euros in the July-September period, with sales up one percent to 8.67 billion euros.

© 2011 AFP

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