May 15, 2018 / 5:50 AM / a year ago

Merck KGaA first quarter earnings down on liquid crystals, currencies

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany’s Merck KGaA (MRCG.DE) saw earnings decline in the first quarter and predicted a drop for the full year, hurt by Chinese competition in liquid crystals used in flat screens and a strong euro weighing on the value of overseas sales.

Merck on Tuesday reported 1.02 billion euros ($1.22 billion) in first quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), down 18 percent and in line with market expectations.

The chemicals and drugs maker said it expected adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations to decline to 3.75 to 4.0 billion euros in 2018, stripping out 170 to 200 million euros from the consumer healthcare unit it has agreed to sell to Procter & Gamble (PG.N) for 3.4 billion euros.

That compares with 4.4 billion euros in 2018.

Merck predicted exchange rate effects would cause a drag of 5 to 7 percent on 2018 EBITDA, worse then the forecast it had provided in March, for a 4 to 6 percent hit.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Edward Taylor and Maria Sheahan

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