German drugmaker Bayer has booked an 8.8% rise (5.3% at constant exchange rates) in 2012 sales to 39.8 billion euros, the highest amount in its 150-year history, but its outlook missed analyst expectations.

Growth was driven by emerging markets and sales of the HealthCare subgroup, which were up 8.4% at 18.6 billion euros, after strong performances from both Pharmaceuticals, which grew organically by 4.2% to 10.8 billion euros, and Consumer Health, also up 4.2% (also adjusted) at 7.8 billion euros.

The star players in terms of growth in Bayer's pipeline for the year were the anticoagulant Xarelto, which achieved "by far" the highest growth rate of 265.9% (at CER) following its market introduction in further countries and indications. 

Sales of Aspirin Cardio to prevent heart attacks rose by 12.3% (at CER), largely thanks to the steady expansion of marketing activities in China, Bayer said.

Net income slipped 1% to 2.5 billion euros, EBITDA before special items grew 8.8% to 8.3 billion, and core earnings per share jumped 10.8% to 5.35 euros.

For the fourth quarter, group sales were up 7.3% (currency and portfolio adjusted 5.5%) to 9.9 billion euros, EBITDA before special items leapt 18.4% to 1.8 billion euros, net income dropped from 397 million euros to 374 million euros, and core EPS climbed to 1.00 euro from 0.97.

Looking forward, for 2013 Bayer said it anticipates currency- and portfolio-adjusted sales growth of between 4%-5%, an increase EBITDA before special items by a mid-single-digit percentage, and core earnings per share by a high-single-digit percentage.

However, analysts had been expecting a gain in EBITDA of about 8%, according to Reuters.

A full analysis of Bayer's results will be published by our reporter on location at the firm's HQ in Germany.