Chemist Merck KGaA raises full year forecast

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The German chemical group Merck KGaA raised on Thursday its full-year forecast following a strong second quarter and the purchase of its US research unit Millipore.

Merck now expects operating profit to gain 90 percent in 2010 instead of 30-40 percent as initially forecast, a statement said.

Sales should climb by 21 percent after adding 16 percent in the second quarter to 2.21 billion euros (2.9 billion dollars), it forecast.

In May, Merck had already raised it full-year outlook on the back of a strong first quarter.

"The pleasing results of the second quarter, with total revenues well over two billion euros, show that our excellent first quarter was setting the course for the year," chairman Karl-Ludwig Kley was quoted as saying.

The new forecasts include results from Millipore, a US lab that Merck said in March it would buy.

The deal, worth 5.2 billion euros, was finalised in mid-July.

In the second quarter, Merck said its operating profit leapt by 76 percent to 325 millio euros, while net profit gained 69 percent to 183 million.

The strongest gains were posted by the chemical division and one that makes liquid crystals for television screens.

The pharmaceutical division, Merck's biggest, also did well meanwhile, posting growth of 17 percent in operating profit to 158 million euros.

© 2010 AFP

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