You could get a headache trying to name all of Bayer's products. The company, which created aspirin in 1897, makes prescription products and works in oncology and radiology through its Pharmaceuticals division; OTC products like Claritin and Canesten via its Consumer Health division; and crop protection and pest control via its Crop Science division. Its top selling pharmaceuticals include oral anticoagulent Xarelto and blood-clotting medicine Kogenate. Bayer also operates an animal health business unit; its top-seller is Advantage, a flea medicine. Also known as Bayer Group, the firm has some 300 operating subsidiaries worldwide; it operates in the US through Bayer Corporation. The company spun off its material science division in 2015, but retains 69% ownership.
Pharmaceuticals, the largest segment by revenue at around a third, deals in prescription products, especially for women's health care and cardiology, and on specialty therapeutics in the areas of oncology, hematology, and opthamology.
The Consumer Health business includes consumer care and medical care, and makes primarily non-prescription and OTC medicines, supplements, and dermatology products, such as Aspirin (for which it owns the trademark in 80 countries), Berocca and Aleve. In 2016 it completed the sale of its Diabetes Care unit to Panasonic Healthcare.
The Crop Science segment does business in seeds, crop protection, and non-agricultural pest control, and accounted for 22% of revenue in 2015. In 2016, Bayer made a record $66 billion takeover bid for
, the American GM crop producer.
Covestro develops and markets high-tech polymer materials and specialty chemicals; it also makes inorganic base chemicals. Its operating units are polyurethanes, polycarbonates, and coatings, adhesives, and specialties. It accounted for 30% of revenue in 2014.
The company also operates an animal health business.
Europe is Bayer's largest region, at about a third of sales, but the company also generates significant revenue in North American and the Asia-Pacific region. Most of the company's core manufacturing facilities are in Germany and the US. The company also has operations Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.
The Bayer Group comprises about 300 consolidated companies operating in 77 countries around the world.
Sales and Marketing
Pharmaceuticals products are distributed primarily through wholesalers, hospitals, and pharmacy chains, while Crop Science products are sold through wholesalers and regional distributors. The Consumer Health division's well-known and established brands are sold through major supermarket chains and pharmacies.
Note: Growth rates may differ after conversion to US Dollars.
The company recorded its fifth consecutive year of sales growth in 2015: revenue grew 12% to €46.3 billion on the back of higher sales and earnings growth. Consumer Heath grew across all its divisions, with HealthCare in particular showing strong growth. In the Pharmaceuticals segment, the Xarelto, Eylea, Stivarga, Xofigo and Adempas brands added €1.3 billion to sales in prior year and helped the company overcome declining prices. These brands are doing especially well in Germany, Japan and the US.
Net income grew 20% to €4.1 billion, despite special charges nearly doubling to €819 million mostly as a result of integration and re-structuring costs. These costs were offset to an extent by a favorable litigation settlement with Dow AgroSciences to the sum of €300 million.
Cash from continuing operations climbed 4.4% in 2015 to €7.0 billion.
Net income of €4.1 billion was 20% higher on prior year mostly due to an increase in sales.
In 2015 Bayer undertook steps to realign itself as purely a life sciences company, or one that works in biology, be it pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies or plant science, among other things. Bayer floated Covestro, its materials science division (2015 revenue €12 billion), on the stock market as a fully independent company in September 2015 (although Bayer Group retains 69% ownership). SeedWorks India was acquired in July 2015 to strengthen Bayer's position in the vegetable seed business in India. Radiology joined Pharmaceuticals, making Consumer Health consist entirely of the consumer care business. The lagging Diabetes Care business was sold to Panasonic for around €1 billion for financial reasons.
Bayer has substantially upped its R&D spend, nearly tripling it since 2011 to €4.3 billion.
Bayer hopes that an expanding global population, expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, will rapidly expand the demand for GM foods as a solution to difficult agriculture conditions. In mid-2016, the company agreed to an ambitious $66 billion takeover bid for US GM-food company Monsanto, which will help Bayer makes gains in GM-resistant Europe. Historically, GM foods have been produced almost exclusively in the US. The acquisition (which will be the largest all-cash corporate transaction to date) would bring Crop Sciences to almost half of Bayer revenue.
Shortly following the bid for Monsanto, the company agreed to sell its consumer crop protection to French crop protection firm SBM Developpement to focus on commercial crop protection.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Acquisition activity was down substantially to almost nil in 2015, after a busy 2014 (€8 million vs €13,741 million). In 2015, Bayer bought Thermoplast Composite to expand its range of polycarbonate materials. It also bought SeedWorks India to strengthen its vegetable seed business in the territory.
Acquisitions in 2014 in the health arena include the purchase of Merck's consumer care business, which brought well-known brands including Claritin, MiraLAX, Coppertone, and Dr. Scholl's under the Bayer umbrella. The company paid about $14.2 billion for the deal and moved into second place globally among OTC companies, between a Novartis-GlaxoSmithKline joint venture and Johnson & Johnson.
Bayer also bought dermatology product specialist Dihon Pharmaceutical Group in China and former cancer drug Xofigo partner Algeta in Norway. CropScience purchases included Argentina's Biagro group (organic seed treatments and crop protection products) and the seed business of Paraguayan firm Granar. Altogether, the company spent €13.5 billion on acquisitions in 2014.