October 30, 2018 / 6:39 AM / 16 days ago

Fresenius Medical Care says expects weaker growth in fourth quarter

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s Fresenius Medical Care (FMEG.DE) (FMC) has identified measures to accelerate growth in its dialysis business but said weaker performance would continue in the fourth quarter.

FILE PHOTO: Fresenius Medical Care CEO Rice Powell addresses the company's annual news conference in Bad Homburg near Frankfurt, Germany, February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo

FMC cut its earnings target for the year in mid-October, citing slower growth in dialysis services in North America, its largest market.

“We anticipate the impact from the current level of growth and less acquisitions to continue in the fourth quarter,” Chief Executive Rice Powell said in a statement on Tuesday. “We have identified countermeasures and have begun implementation.”

FMC plans to expand and improve the services it offers, courting private health insurers to increase the number of patients on higher paying insurance schemes. It also wants to increase sales in emerging markets.

FMC confirmed third quarter sales fell 6 percent to 4.06 billion euros (3.61 billion pounds)while adjusted net income was down 2 percent to 310 million euros.

“Weaker volumes in North America, higher patient & occupancy costs, as well as challenges in select Emerging Markets such as Argentina weighed on 3Q and are expected to persist in 4Q,” said Jefferies analyst James Vane-Tempest.

Shares in FMC, which dropped 19 percent when the company announced its guidance cut, were trading down 1.1 percent at 69.68 euros by 0858 GMT.

The company said the deadline for its planned $2 billion takeover of U.S. home dialysis equipment maker NxStage Medical Inc (NXTM.O), which it is buying to capitalise on a trend of patients opting for treatment at home, would be extended until Feb. 5.

However, FMC said it still expects the deal to close this year.

($1 = 0.8801 euros)

Reporting by Caroline Copley and Patricia Weiss; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Kirsten Donovan

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