March 1, 2012 / 12:16 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Stada FY core profit down 17 pct on Serbia, Germany

* 2011 EBITDA down 17 pct at 223 mln eur vs 300 mln poll avg

* FY net income down 68 pct at 22 mln eur vs 35 mln poll avg

* Sees high single-digit pct growth in 2012 adj EBITDA (Adds details, background)

FRANKFURT, March 1 (Reuters) - Germany’s largest independent generic-drug maker Stada said 2011 core profit dropped 17 percent, worse than expected, dragged lower by delayed payments of Serbian drugs distributors and amid fierce competition in its home market.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in 2011 dropped 17 percent to 223 million euros ($298 million), below the average Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimate of 300 million euros.

Net income dropped by two thirds to 22 million euros, falling short of an average analyst estimate of 35.1 million.

Stada said it saw an opportunity for an increase in the high single-digit percent area in EBITDA adjusted for one-time items in 2012.

It also confirmed a 2014 outlook of about 2.15 billion euros in adjusted EBITDA and of net income of about 215 million euros.

Stadas shares had plunged almost 20 percent in September after the group said some wholesalers in Serbia, a market which accounted for 6 percent of group sales in 2010, were no longer able to pay, forcing it to take a 85 million euro ($115 million) charge.

Stada later said it received a written guarantee from the Serbian government for the settlement of unpaid bills. ($1 = 0.7476 euros) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger)

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