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Merck KGaA to keep OTC

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

The German firm maintains a positive outlook for its consumer health business and says it does not plan to sell - contrary to analysts' suggestion Sanofi-Aventis could buy it (1"The Tan Sheet," Jan. 12, 2009, p. 14). "If some braver companies are coming in, yes, that will increase the competition - the consumer will have more choice - but they cannot overtake our brands in two years," pharmaceutical head Elmar Schnee said during the firm's earnings call Feb. 18. Fiscal 2008 OTC revenues grew 5.2 percent to 442 million euros ($599.3 million under same-day conversion rates), and rose 3.7 percent to $144.7 million in the fourth quarter. The U.K.'s depreciating currency value hit the firm's sales
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