Germany’s Schering AG posted a 28% decline in second quarter operating profit to 170 million euros ($215m) this morning, held back by takeover costs, with a 6% rise in sales with strong performances by the firm’s leading specialty drugs.Profits were hit by costs relating to the bidding war for Schering between Merck KGaA and Bayer, which the latter emerged from victorious. Schering spent 125 million euros in the first half defending itself from Merck’s advances and supporting Bayer’s offer, it said.But investors focused on the sales figures rather than the one-off costs, and Schering’s shares were in the ascendancy, albeit up just half a point to 91.33 euros, in mid-morning trading.Schering reported overall sales of 1.42 billion euros in the quarter, helped by gains for its multiple sclerosis drug Betaferon (interferon beta-1b), oral contraceptive range Yasmin (ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone) and intrauterine contraceptive Mirena, and this prompted the company to increase its full-year guidance, saying it now expects organic sales growth ‘in the high single-digit range’.Its top-selling product, Betaferon, is also expected to grow in the double-digit range when adjusted for currency effects, said Schering, despite increased competition in the marketplace for multiple sclerosis drugs.Schering had previously forecast mid- to high single-digit growth for overall sales and a single digit advance for Betaferon.

Top 10 products by first half 2006 sales (million euros)
  1. Betaferon 481 +17%
  2. Yasmin 351 +33%
  3. Magnevist 161 -1%
  4. Mirena 143 +26%
  5. Ultravist 143 +10%
  6. Iopamiron 110 -2%
  7. Diane 92 +2%
  8. Microgynon 73 +10%
  9. Meliane 64 +2%
  10. Fludara 63 +23%
Source: Schering AG