December 7, 2018 / 7:20 AM / 10 days ago

Fresenius cuts guidance, vows further dividend hikes

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FRANKFURT, Dec 7 (Reuters) - German healthcare group Fresenius cut its medium-term guidance late on Thursday hurt by lower profit expectations at its dialysis arm FMC and its clinics chain Helios but said that dividends will continue to grow.

Shares were indicated 8.7 percent lower.

“Given its current expectations for 2018 and 2019, Fresenius now believes its ambitious group targets for 2020 will not be met”, the company said in a statement.

For 2019, Fresenius now expects sales growth in the mid-single digits and flat net profit. Previously it forecast sales growth at 7.1 to 10.3 percent and earnings growth of 8.3 to 12.6 percent.

From 2020 onwards, Fresenius now expects sales growth in the mid-single digits and net income to grow slightly faster than sales.

“Our updated expectations reflect the significant changes made to our portfolio over the last two years,” Chief Executive Stephan Sturm said.

Fresenius bought the biosimilars arm of Germany’s Merck KGaA and Spanish hospital chain Quironsalud. It had sought to buy U.S. generics firm Akorn but dropped those plans. (Reporting by Arno Schuetze; editing by Jason Neely)

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