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Germany’s Merck KGaA predicts earnings gain in 2021 on lab gear

FILE PHOTO: A logo of drugs and chemicals group Merck KGaA is pictured in Darmstadt

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s Merck KGaA predicted further earnings gains in 2021 as an effort by the pharma industry to ready treatments and vaccines against the coronavirus bolsters demand for its supplies for biotech labs.

Merck, which also makes pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals, said on Thursday it expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) adjusted for one offs, to grow in the “high single-digit to low teens percentage range”.

The Life Science unit, which supplies gear and chemicals for biotech labs, in December announced a combined $47 million investment at production facilities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, to produce supplies for developers of COVID-19 vaccines and lifesaving therapies.

This would begin to increase output from 2021, it said at the time, for products like filters and single-use plastic bags and tubes for bioreactors.

It added on Thursday that adjusted EBITDA in 2020 rose 18.6% to 5.2 billion euros ($6.27 billion), in line with average analyst expectations.

“Merck expects significantly positive contributions owing to the Covid-19 pandemic,” it said.

Fourth-quarter adjusted EBITDA at its life science tools division, jumped 25.5% to 653 million euros, well above a market consensus of 619 million.A recovery at its electronics materials and drugs businesses, which started in the second half of 2020, will continue in 2021, it added.

($1 = 0.8295 euros)

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Caroline Copley)

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