Lawsuit charges weigh on Bayer profits again

(AP)—Charges for lawsuits over its birth control pills weighed on Bayer AG's earnings once again during the fourth quarter of 2012.

The German company said Thursday it made a of €374 million ($490 million) during the period, compared with €397 million the previous year.

The company booked €455 million in charges during the quarter due to current or anticipated lawsuits in the United States over claims of injuries from blood clots associated with its .

The profit fall masked a 7.3 percent rise in sales to €9.86 billion.

For the full year, net income declined 1 percent to €2.45 billion while sales rose 8.8 percent to €39.8 billion.

Aside from the problems with the contraceptives, the company said its business was doing well, with sales rising across the three basic divisions: prescription and over-the-counter drugs, farm chemicals and seeds, and such as polyurethanes, adhesives and coatings.

Excluding the lawsuit expenses, earnings before interest, taxes and other financial factors rose 9 percent to €8.24 billion.

Bayer has said it will raise its dividend for 2012 to €1.90 per share from €1.65 amid optimism over the coming year. It forecast a percentage increase in operating earnings in the mid-single digit range.

Bayer shares rose 2.6 percent to €75.71 in morning trading in Europe.

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