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Feb 27, 2015

Bayer crown prince vows independence for diversified drugmaker

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (Reuters) – Werner Baumann, seen as heir apparent to Bayer Chief Executive Marijn Dekkers, says he will fight for the independence of Germany’s largest drugmaker after the spin-off of its plastics unit.

“We will always try anew every day to defend our independence through our performance and the decisions that we make,” said the 52-year-old, who will head Bayer’s main healthcare arm from April.

Feb 27, 2015

BASF sees unchanged operating profit in 2015

LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany, Feb 27 (Reuters) – BASF,
the world’s largest chemical firm by sales, expects operating
profit to stagnate this year due to lower oil prices and the
cost of launching an unusually high number of production sites.

The company, whose products include car coatings, foam
chemicals, catalytic converters and mining chemicals, said the
prospects of somewhat stronger global economic growth this year
were nevertheless fraught with uncertainty.

Feb 20, 2015

Berkshire to buy German motorcycle equipment retailer

NEW YORK/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc said on Friday it had agreed to buy German motorcycle apparel and accessories retailer Detlev Louis Motorrad-Vertriebs GmbH for a little more than 400 million euros ($456 million).

The purchase enables Buffett, known for his optimism about the United States and the investment opportunities it offers, to expand in Europe despite its economic problems.

Feb 20, 2015

Bayer diabetes business sale not imminent: sources

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German drugmaker Bayer is in talks to sell its diabetes devices division but a sale is not imminent, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Bayer is making a second attempt to sell the Contour blood glucose-meter business, which had annual sales of 722 million euros ($819 million) in 2013, as it overhauls its business to focus on margin-rich healthcare sectors.

Feb 18, 2015

Germany in push to encourage antibiotics development

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany is looking to encourage the development of more powerful antibiotics against the growing threat of drug-resistant superbugs, the country’s pharmaceutical industry association said on Wednesday.

The health ministry in Berlin is to hold talks later this year with Germany’s pharma lobby VFA, which will propose loosely modeling any new rules for antibiotics on the so-called orphan drug status that is awarded to experimental treatments of rare diseases, VFA’s chairman Hagen Pfundner said.

Feb 4, 2015

Hugo Boss earnings fall short on weak consumer mood

FRANKFURT, Feb 4 (Reuters) – German fashion house Hugo Boss
has reported lower-than-expected pretax earnings,
citing a weaker consumer mood and taking one-off charges due in
part to an overhaul of its Middle Eastern distribution network.

In an unscheduled release of preliminary full-year results,
it said pretax earnings edged 1 percent higher to 437 million
euros ($501 million), missing the average analyst estimate of
470 million after 19 million in one-off charges, mainly due to
severing ties with a Middle East sales agent and the planned
consolidation of its production facilities.

Dec 24, 2014

HeidelbergCement sells building products arm to Lone Star

FRANKFURT, Dec 24 (Reuters) – Germany’s HeidelbergCement
has clinched a deal to sell its Hanson Building
Products business to private equity firm Lone Star Funds for
$1.4 billion to reduce its debt.

Up to $100 million of the takeover price will be payable in
2016, depending on the 2015 performance of Hanson Building
Products, whose main markets are in North America and Britain,
the German cement maker said on Wednesday.

Dec 9, 2014

Auditor says Kabel Deutschland worth more than Vodafone offer

FRANKFURT, Dec 9 (Reuters) – An auditor’s report concluded
Kabel Deutschland was worth almost a quarter more
than what Britain’s Vodafone offered for the rump of the
company, potentially helping hedge fund Elliott argue its case
for a higher price for its stake.

Having secured a stake of more than three quarters in Kabel
Deutschland, Vodafone about a year ago offered 84.53 euros per
share ($104) in cash to remaining shareholders as part of a
so-called domination agreement.

Nov 26, 2014

Exclusive: First gene therapy drug sets million-euro price record

FRANKFURT/LONDON (Reuters) – The Western world’s first gene therapy drug is set to go on sale in Germany with a 1.1 million euro ($1.4 million) price tag, a new record for a medicine to treat a rare disease.

The sky-high cost of Glybera, from Dutch biotech firm UniQure (QURE.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and its unlisted Italian marketing partner Chiesi, shows how single curative therapies to fix faulty genes may upend the conventional pharmaceutical business model.

Nov 17, 2014

Pfizer dampens Astra bid hopes with German Merck cancer deal

FRANKFURT/LONDON (Reuters) – Pfizer (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) dampened investors’ expectations of a renewed bid for AstraZeneca (AZN.L: Quote, Profile, Research) on Monday by signing a major cancer drug deal with Germany’s Merck KGaA (MRCG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research), reducing the U.S. firm’s need for Astra’s products.

Merck will get an upfront payment of $850 million (544 million pounds) from the U.S. drugmaker for sharing rights to develop its experimental immunotherapy drug with Pfizer. It is also eligible for up to $2 billion in payments based on the medicine’s future success.

    • About Ludwig

      "I am the Deputy Chief Correspondent for Reuters' company news out of Germany, also covering the healthcare and chemical industry. Previously, I worked as a reporter for Bloomberg News in Switzerland."
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