Agriculture and pharmaceuticals company Bayer has today reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings as surging demand for its herbicides made up for a decline in sales of its stroke prevention pill Xarelto.

The German company said in a statement third-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 17.3% to €2.45 billion, above analysts' average estimate of €2.31 billion posted on the company's website.

Bayer, which has been hit by litigation costs over claims a weedkiller it acquired in its takeover of Monsanto causes cancer, said its full-year outlook issued in August was still valid.

It said at that time it was targeting adjusted EBITDA of about €13 billion, based on June 30 foreign exchange rates, up from €11.2 billion in 2021.

The crop science division saw adjusted EBITDA gain 33.5% to €629m, beating a market consensus of €589m, as a strong herbicides business more than offset weaker corn and soy seed sales.

Its best-selling drug Xarelto saw sales decline 6.2% to €1.11 billion in the quarter, slightly below market estimates, on lower prices and volumes in China as well as loss of patent protection in Brazil.

Revenues from anti-blindness treatment Eylea rose 6.3% to €811m, gaining prescriptions in Europe and China, but also coming in slightly below expectations.