Bayer’s operational business was hit by currency effects in the first quarter of 2018, forcing the company to cut its profit predictions for the year, the company said on Thursday.

Adjusted for currency and portfolio effects (Fx & portfolio adj.), the company generated an increase in sales in the first three months of the year. “We posted growth at Pharmaceuticals and in the Animal Health business,” said Werner Baumann, Chairman of the Board of Management, when he presented the interim report on Thursday. EBITDA before special items matched the level of the prior-year quarter on a currency-adjusted basis (Fx adj.). 

“We have made good headway strategically and have made major progress with the proposed acquisition of Monsanto,” Baumann said. The European Commission and other regulators, including those in Brazil, China and Russia, have approved the transaction this year. This means that Bayer has now obtained two-thirds of the around 30 anti-trust approvals it seeks.

Group sales in the first quarter of 2018 rose by 2.0 percent (Fx & portfolio adj., reported: minus 5.6 percent) to 9.138 billion euros. EBITDA before special items was down by 5.2 percent, at 2.896 billion euros. Negative currency effects held back earnings by around 160 million euros.

Adjusted for these effects, earnings were level year on year. EBIT declined by 4.8 percent to 2.310 billion euros, after special charges of 78 million euros (Q1 2017: 102 million euros) primarily in connection with the planned acquisition of Monsanto. Net income decreased by 6.2 percent to 1.954 billion euros, while core earnings per share from continuing operations came in marginally lower, falling 1.3 percent to 2.28 euros.

The company confirmed the currency-adjusted forecasts it published in February for operating performance and said it continues to expect 2018 sales to increase by a low- to mid-single-digit percentage on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis.