* Sees FY adj EBITDA at 2.90-2.95 bln eur
* Outlook is upper half of previous target range
* Q3 adj EBITDA 754 mln eur vs Rtrs poll avg 740 mln
* Shares gain 1.1 percent, beat broader German index
(Adds shares, background on TV market, drugs overhaul)
DARMSTADT, Germany, Nov 15 Merck KGaA
bolstered its outlook and beat expectations for third-quarter
results as it capitalised on cost cuts and its strong position
in the market for chemicals for flat screens.
Family-controlled Merck, which traces its roots to a 17th
century pharmacy, on Thursday said it now expects 2012 adjusted
earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation
(EBITDA) of 2.90-2.95 billion euros ($3.7-$3.75 billion).
That is the upper half of its previous target range and
compares with 2.9 billion euros expected on average by analysts.
The shares gained 1.1 percent at 0826 GMT, while Germany's
blue chip index lost 0.5 percent.
Merck benefited from an ongoing cost cutting programme and
from continued price hikes in the United States for multiple
sclerosis drugs, where the group sells its established Rebif
Sales of Rebif, Merck's best-selling drug, saw
currency-adjusted gains of 10 percent for two consecutive
"We believe that the restructuring taking place at Merck is
bearing fruit and (is) important for future growth
opportunities," said Silvia Quandt Research analyst Claudia
The company is slashing jobs after a number of development
setbacks left it without any significant drugs in late-stage
It is now buying rights to experimental compounds in early
stages of development to gradually rebuild its pipeline.
Restructuring costs have come to more than 400 million euros
so far this year.
Third-quarter adjusted EBITDA rose 15.6 percent to 754
million euros, above a forecast for 740 million in a Reuters
poll. Revenues also exceeded expectations.
Merck's dominant position in the market for liquid crystals
for flat-panel displays allows it to hold its own even as
economic uncertainty puts consumers off purchases of pricey
flat-screen TVs. Soaring tablet computer and smartphone sales
also help Merck.
It reiterated, however, that the liquid crystals business
would weaken in the remainder of the year and that the unit's
fourth-quarter operating earnings would be flat from a year
Screen maker LG Display said last month it
expected TV display to remain subdued next year. Japanese TV
maker Sharp even warned it might not be able to survive
on its own and slashed its full-year TV sales forecast.
But Panasonic Corp said on Thursday its display
business was on track for its first profit in five years in
January-March, driven by stronger sales of liquid crystal
display (LCD) panels for tablets and PCs.
($1 = 0.7856 euros)
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Maria Sheahan and David