Despite significant negative currency effects of some EUR 130 million or approximately 11 percent, EBITDA before special items of Health Care rose by 1.9 percent to EUR 1,301 million (Q1 2013: EUR 1,277 million). The improvement was due to the very good business development at Pharmaceuticals, while earnings at Consumer Health declined slightly. Earnings were also held back by higher selling expenses and research and development costs.
Sales of the agriculture business (Crop Science) increased in the first quarter by 4.9 percent (Fx & portfolio adj. plus 11.8 percent) to EUR 2,900 million (Q1 2013: EUR 2,764 million). Both Crop Protection/Seeds and Environmental Science contributed to this encouraging growth.
Strong start to the season at Crop Science
"Our business benefited mainly from an early start to the season in Europe and strong sales in Latin America," Dekkers said. The subgroup grew sales by 17.0 percent (Fx adj.) in Europe and by 21.3 percent (Fx adj.) in Latin America/Africa/ Middle East. Sales advanced by 8.2 percent (Fx adj.) in Asia/Pacific and 4.3 percent (Fx adj.) in North America.
The Crop Protection business saw positive development in all business units, with new products (launched since 2006) playing a key role. The Fungicides (Fx & portfolio adj. plus 16.6 percent), SeedGrowth (Fx & portfolio adj. plus 19.1 percent) and Insecticides (Fx & portfolio adj. plus 12.6 percent) units all posted double-digit growth rates. Herbicides (Fx & portfolio adj. plus 7.7 percent) mainly benefited from the good development of products for use in cereals.
Business in the Seeds unit also expanded markedly (Fx & portfolio adj. plus 11.9 percent). Environmental Science registered a positive performance both by products for professional users and by the consumer business, raising sales by 7.9 percent (Fx & portfolio adj.).
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