March 7, 2013 / 6:12 AM / in 5 years

Merck KGaA's profit gains on cost cuts, drug price hikes

DARMSTADT, Germany, March 7 (Reuters) - German drugmaker Merck KGaA reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings on cost cuts and higher prices for its multiple sclerosis drug Rebif.

Fourth-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 16 percent to 790 million euros ($1.03 billion), above a forecast for 785 million in a Reuters poll.

Net income of 272 million euros surpassed the poll average of 208 million.

The company predicted a significant increase in net income in 2013 and 2014 as it benefits from cost cuts, but it cautioned that there would be no major technology launches at its chemicals business, which is the world’s largest maker of liquid crystals for flat panel displays. ($1 = 0.7692 euros) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger)

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