Bayer Crop Science outperforms peers in a difficult market

The Bayer Group performed as expected in the opening months of the year. ″First-quarter sales declined slightly versus the prior year. The Pharmaceuticals Division saw gains in growth and profitability, and the Crop Science Division outperformed in a difficult market. Consumer Health started slower, but is set to get back to growth over the course of the year,″ CEO Bill Anderson said on Tuesday when presenting the company’s quarterly statement for the first quarter. He reaffirmed Bayer’s outlook for 2024 at constant currencies. Anderson also commented on the company’s strategic priorities.

Group sales came in at 13.765 billion euros in the first quarter of 2024, and were therefore slightly below the prior-year figure on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis (Fx & portfolio adj. minus 0.6 percent). There was a negative currency effect of 525 million euros (Q1 2023: positive currency effect of 102 million euros). EBITDA before special items decreased by 1.3 percent to 4.412 billion euros. EBIT advanced by 4.0 percent to 3.092 billion euros after net special charges of 207 million euros (Q1 2023: 431 million euros). The special charges primarily related to expenses for ongoing restructuring measures and affected all divisions and functional areas. Net income fell by 8.2 percent to 2.0 billion euros, while core earnings per share decreased by 4.4 percent to 2.82 euros.

Free cash flow came in at minus 2.626 billion euros (Q1 2023: minus 4.102 billion euros), mainly due to the improvement in operating cash flow. Net financial debt as of March 31, 2024, came in at 37.488 billion euros, up 8.7 percent from year-end 2023. This was mainly attributable to cash outflows from operating activities due to seasonal factors.

Crop Science outperforms peers in terms of sales trajectory in a challenging market environment

In the agricultural business (Crop Science), Bayer outperformed its peers in a difficult market.


First quarter of 2024


Sales at Crop Science decreased by 3.0% (Fx & portfolio adj.) to €7,907 million in the first quarter of 2024, mainly due to lower volumes for Bayer’s non-glyphosate-based herbicides and Bayer’s Fungicides business in Europe/Middle East/Africa. By contrast, Bayer’s glyphosate-based products saw a substantial increase in volumes, which was more than offset by significant price declines as a result of reduced prices for generics.

  • Sales at Corn Seed & Traits increased thanks to higher prices in all regions. However, volumes were down mainly in North America due to lower acreages.
  • At Herbicides, Bayer recorded substantial volume declines for non-glyphosate-based products, especially in Europe/Middle East/Africa, largely driven by adverse weather conditions and increased generic pressure. With respect to the glyphosate-based products, Bayer recorded significant market-driven price declines in all regions that were not fully offset by the impact of volumes returning to normal levels. Particularly in Latin America, the negative price effect clearly outweighed the growth in volumes.
  • Business at Fungicides was down, mainly due to a decline in volumes in Europe/Middle East/Africa that was also largely driven by adverse weather conditions and increased generic pressure. By contrast, higher volumes in Latin and North America had a positive impact.
  • Sales at Soybean Seed & Traits were level with the prior-year period.
  • Sales at Insecticides were up, driven by higher volumes in Europe/Middle East/Africa and North America that were partially offset by a sales decline in Latin America.
  • At Cotton Seed, volumes were down in North America amid shifts in demand into the second quarter.
  • Business at Vegetable Seeds expanded thanks to higher prices in all regions.
  • The reporting unit ″Other″ benefited from advance sales in the other parts of the seed portfolio. By contrast, Bayer recorded declines at SeedGrowth as well as in the remaining Environmental Science businesses Lawn & Garden and Industrial Turf & Ornamental (IT&O).



EBITDA before special items at Crop Science decreased by 12.8% to €2,849 million in the first quarter of 2024 (Q1 2023: €3,267 million), mainly due to price declines for the glyphosate-based products. There was also a negative currency effect of €92 million (Q1 2023: positive currency effect of €54 million). The EBITDA margin before special items declined by 3.1 percentage points to 36.0%.

EBIT came in at €2,063 million (Q1 2023: €2,319 million) in the first quarter of 2024 after net special charges of €59 million (Q1 2023: €296 million) that primarily related to ongoing restructuring measures.


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