March 5, 2020 / 6:21 AM / 23 days ago

Merck KGaA forecasts strong profit growth on healthcare, lab gear

FRANKFURT, March 5 (Reuters) - Germany’s Merck KGaA said adjusted core earnings would see “strong” growth, excluding the effect of currency swings, driven by its prescription drugs unit and the lab equipment business.

The company said that while the impact of the current coronavirus epidemic was difficult to determine, it was currently working on the assumption that the outbreak would reach its high point in the first quarter and subside during the second.

Fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), adjusted for special items, gained 27% to 1.2 billion euros ($1.34 billion), in line with the analyst estimate of 1.15 billion euros in a Refinitiv poll.

$1 = 0.8979 euros Reporting by Ludwig Burger Editing by Riham Alkousaa

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