By Cecilia Butini
Merck KgaA said Thursday that its earnings and sales rose in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic, and increased its proposed dividend.
The German pharmaceuticals-and-chemicals company posted aftertax profit of 1.99 billion euros ($2.40 billion), up from EUR1.32 billion in 2019.
The closely watched company metric "Ebitda pre"--earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization before one-time items--came in at EUR5.20 billion, compared with EUR4.39 billion, Merck said.
Net sales were EUR17.53 billion, up from EUR16.15 billion.
The company proposed a dividend for 2020 of EUR1.40 a share, up EUR0.10 from the previous year. It also said that it would rename its performance-materials business as electronics effective immediately.
Merck said it expects strong organic sales growth in 2021, and projects organic Ebitda pre growth in the percentage range of high single digits to low teens.
In the medium term, the company said it continues to guide for around EUR2 billion in sales from new products in 2022.
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