Antibiotics market hits result at DSM pharma unit

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Dutch group DSM, one of Europe's top three ingredient suppliers to
drug makers, increased sales of pharma products during the second
quarter but continued losses from the antibiotics market halved the
Life Sciences operating profit.

Sales at the unit were down 4 per cent over the 2003 second quarter, mainly due to lower prices and exchange rate developments at DSM Anti-Infectives, the company said today.

This business, the world's largest producer of active ingredients and intermediates for use in antibiotics, was responsible for a 52 per cent drop in Life Sciences operating profit compared to the previous year's same period.

DSM Pharmaceutial Products, which makes intermediates and active ingredients as well as biotech products, offered partial compensation, performing above the previous year's second quarter, reported the group.

DSM's recently acquired vitamin business continued to buoy the group's earnings however, contributing almost 40 per cent of its operating profit during the second quarter.

Other units also performed well - at Performance Materials, which makes fibres and raw materials for textiles, sales were up 16 per cent and Industrial Chemicals saw better margins significantly improve operating profits.

Overall the group reported an operating profit of €133 million, up 56 per cent from the second quarter of 2003 and 21 per cent from the first quarter of 2004.

In group sales, up 42 per cent on the previous year's 2Q to €1.94 billion, Nutritional Products contributed 36 per cent of the sales increase.

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