German pharmaceutical group Bayer has posted a 2010 sales record of €35.1bn ($48.5bn), the largest figure in the company’s history, despite a fall in net profits.

Pharmaceuticals segment sales rose by 4.2 % to €10.9m, while healthcare subgroup sales for the full year increased by 5.8% to €16.9m.

However, the group recorded a fourth quarter net loss of €145m, compared with a profit of €153m in the same period of 2009.

The loss has been put down to charges that included a write-down on its Schering brand and costs of US legal proceedings.

By contrast, core earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation before special items in the quarter gained 11.6% on the year to €1.69bn.

Also in the fourth quarter, sales climbed by 14.5% to €9m compared to €7.8m in the same period in 2009.

Management board chairman Dr Marijn Dekkers said that he remains positive about the year ahead, “It remains to be seen how the global economy will develop once the stimulus programmes expire in numerous countries. In any case, we are confident for this year.”

The company aims to spend some $#128;15bn on R&D, property, plants and equipment through 2013.