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Lawsuit charges weigh on Bayer profits again

Thursday - 2/28/2013, 5:40am  ET

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Charges for lawsuits over its birth control pills weighed on Bayer AG's earnings once again during the fourth quarter of 2012.

The German company said Thursday it made a net profit of EUR374 million ($490 million) during the period, compared with EUR397 million the previous year.

The company booked EUR455 million in charges during the quarter due to current or anticipated lawsuits in the United States over claims of injuries from blood clots associated with its oral contraceptives.

The profit fall masked a 7.3 percent rise in sales to EUR9.86 billion.

For the full year, net income declined 1 percent to EUR2.45 billion while sales rose 8.8 percent to EUR39.8 billion.

Aside from the problems with the contraceptives, the company said its business was doing well, with sales rising across the three basic divisions: prescription and over-the-counter drugs, farm chemicals and seeds, and synthetic materials such as polyurethanes, adhesives and coatings.

Excluding the lawsuit expenses, earnings before interest, taxes and other financial factors rose 9 percent to EUR8.24 billion.

Bayer has said it will raise its dividend for 2012 to EUR1.90 per share from EUR1.65 amid optimism over the coming year. It forecast a percentage increase in operating earnings in the mid-single digit range.

Bayer shares rose 2.6 percent to EUR75.71 in morning trading in Europe.

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