December 5, 2018 / 1:27 PM / 7 days ago

Germany's Fresenius Medical Care snaps up stakes in Chinese hospitals

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s Fresenius Medical Care (FMEG.DE) (FMC) has acquired several stakes in Chinese kidney hospitals and dialysis clinics as it seeks to expand in the world’s second-biggest market for dialysis by patient numbers.

FMC said on Wednesday it had bought a 70 percent stake in Guangzhou KangNiDaiSi Medical Investment Co. Ltd, a hospital management and consulting firm which has three dialysis centers under construction, and is awaiting approval to build a fourth center.

The German company also acquired a 55 percent stake in Henan Aishen Hospital Management Co. Ltd and Aishen Beijing Hospital Management Co. Ltd which are building 13 dialysis centers and a renal hospital, as well as a 60 percent stake in Daqing Kangda Dialysis Center Co. Ltd.

“These acquisitions mark an important strategic step in our business development in China,” FMC Chief Executive Rice Powell said in a statement.

Around 500,000 patients in China currently receive dialysis, according to the Chinese Society of Nephrology, making it the biggest market globally after the United States in terms of numbers.

Analysts at Bernstein estimate the number of Chinese patients on dialysis is growing by 15-20 percent per year.

While FMC has long sold its dialysis products in China, it has had a minimal presence in dialysis services due to low reimbursement rates.

FMC has made several investments in China in recent years, announcing the acquisition of a 70 percent stake in a hospital there last year, as well as opening its first independent dialysis center.

On Wednesday, it also disclosed that in June it acquired 70 percent stakes in two hospitals in Sichuan province.

Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Susan Fenton

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