Merck KGaA (MKGAF.PK) Profit Down on Liquid Crystal Rivalry  
5/15/2012 7:29:57 AM

German drugmaker Merck KGaA's (MRCG.DE) reported worse than expected first-quarter earnings hurt by fiercer competition for liquid crystals for flat screens, its main cash generator, and restructuring charges. Earnings per share, adjusted for one-off items, fell 12.6 percent to 1.67 euros ($2.14), less than the 1.75 euros expected on average in a Reuters poll of analysts. A year ago, Merck was the only supplier of a new type of liquid crystal that allows for more energy efficient TVs with sharper images. Now its rivals, Japan's Chisso Corp. and DIC Corp (4631.T), are catching up.