The manufacturer of products used in the development of biotechnology and pharmaceutical products and research sites says e-commerce is fueling growth worldwide.

Merck KGaA, the Germany-based manufacturer of equipment and materials used in the development of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, is relying more on e-commerce to drive sales in the United States and internationally, the company says.

E-commerce transactions have been sparking sales through SigmaAldrich.com, Merck’s e-commerce for its North America-based MilliporeSigma unit, and through multiple variations of MerckMillipore.com for the Merck brand that serves other parts of the world, says Udit Batra, CEO of MilliporeSigma, Merck’s North American Life Sciences unit. “We are extremely happy … with the e-commerce progress—and that is a strong, strong contributor,” he said on a third-quarter earnings call with stock analysts last week.

We are extremely happy … with the e-commerce progress—and that is a strong, strong contributor.
Udit Batra, CEO
MilliporeSigma

Batra pointed in particularly to the development of SigmaAldrich.com, which caters to customers throughout the world, as an indication of the growing importance e-commerce to Merck’s operations. In the past year, MilliporeSigma has greatly expanded—to 80%—the percentage of its products offered on SigmaAldrich.com, including both Merck and Sigma brand products. “In fact, every third order includes both legacy Merck and legacy Sigma products,” he said on the conference call, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. “This reflects the intense marketing that the teams have been doing, and how many people go to the site.”

Batra added that e-commerce sales are also helping to drive revenue in Merck’s Research Solutions business, which grew 4% year over year in the third quarter.

Burlington, Mass.-based MilliporeSigma is the result of Merck’s 2015 acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion. It is No. 99 in the B2B E-Commerce 300. Merck KGaA is separate from Kenilworth, N.J.-based Merck & Co. Inc., which operates multiple e-commerce sites and is No. 31 in the B2B E-Commerce 300.

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For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, Merck KGaA reported:

  • Net sales of 3.727 billion euros (US$4.349 billion), up 0.1% from 3.724 euros (US$4.346 billion) a year earlier;
  • Life Science business sales of 1.408 billion euros (US$1.64 billion), up 1.2% from 1.391 billion euros (US$1.62 billion);
  • Gross profit of 2.428 billion euros (US$2.830 billion), down 1.8% from 2.473 billion euros (US$2.890 billion);
  • Net income of 645 million euros (US$753 million), up 41.1% from 457 million euros (US$533 million).

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Merck reported:

  • Net sales of 11.479 billion euros (US$13.396 billion), up 2.5% from 11.194 billion euros (US$13.063 billion) a year earlier;
  • Life Science sales of 4.385 billion euros (US$5.117 billion), up 4.0% from 4.217 billion euros (US$4.921 billion);
  • Gross profit of 7.553 billion euros (US$8.814 billion), up 3.2% from 7.321 billion euros (US$8.544 billion);
  • Net income of 1.587 million euros (US$1.852 million), up 16.7% from 1.360 million euros (US$1.587 million).

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