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Schering sees double-digit profit

FRANKFURT, Germany (Reuters) -- Germany's Schering AG posted a smaller rise in second-quarter operating profit than many analysts forecast on Friday but reiterated its guidance of double-digit profit growth for the full year.

Schering, Germany's second largest listed drugs group, said second-quarter operating profits climbed seven percent to 185 million euros ($185.3 million) on a four percent rise in sales to 1.298 billion euros.

Twenty-five analysts polled by Reuters had forecast profits in a range of 182-228 million euros, giving an average of 195 million euros. Sales were seen at 1.316 billion euros.

Schering expects double-digit growth in net and operating profit this year on high single-digit sales growth, despite the weak dollar and government-ordered price decreases in Japan.

The Berlin-based firm said top-selling multiple-sclerosis drug Betaferon increased sales in the first half by 19 percent -- the number had grown by 15 percent in the first quarter.

Schering also said it was encouraged by the 4.5 percent new-prescription market share of new oral contraceptive Yasmin in the United States.

The company is spearheading its expansion across the Atlantic with Yasmin. In April, it raised its peak forecast for the pill by a third to more than 400 million euros.

Schering is also growing across the Atlantic via acquisitions -- its most recent came last May when it bought Immunex Corp's Leukine cancer treatment for about $380 million. Leukine might also prove to be a treatment for Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines.

The second-quarter net-profit figure is adjusted for one-off effects including Schering's sale of its 24 percent stake in Aventis CropScience to Bayer AG for 1.5 billion euros.

First-half sales in the United States climbed 22 percent in dollar terms, Schering said.


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