Wednesday, June 26, 2019
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Fresenius: winning machine is stuttering

by Stephan Bauer, Euro on Sunday

The Dauerlufer in the DAX becomes a roller coaster share. Just two weeks ago, a US court ruled that Fresenius may withdraw from the acquisition of US generic drug maker Akorn. Billions of Americans are running now for nothing. The share rose by about ten percent.

Meanwhile, however, it went with the course in two digits downhill. The dialysis subsidiary Fresenius Medical Care (FMC), which is also listed on the DAX, will not achieve its sales and earnings targets for 2018. The FMC fell by almost 20 percent at the peak – roughly the same as in the previous three years.

At the world market leader in the blood wash hook it in the core business. US dialysis services were worse off than planned in the third quarter. FMC will also have to make higher reserves for an ongoing settlement with the FCPA, a US agency that investigates corruption cases overseas. Moreover, value adjustments were made because of high inflation in Argentina.

In total, FMC shuts down the growth forecast for revenue for 2018: from five to seven percent to two to three percent. Net profit growth is expected to be between eleven and twelve percent rather than between 13 and 15 percent.

This also affects the parent company out of action. Although Fresenius did not issue any sales and profit warnings, it did specify the annual forecasts in each case to the lower end of the target corridor. Turnover is targeted at five to eight per cent growth, while consolidated net income is six to nine per cent on a currency-adjusted basis.

Two construction sites

FMC is not the only construction site in the healthcare company. The hospital division Helios is also smoldering. Here it is above all the development in Germany, which brakes. Helios recognizes, in line with the overall market, a trend that goes to outpatient treatment. This leads to lower patient numbers in the clinics and a fall in the number of cases. The sales increase of the division should be at the lower end of the range of three to six percent. The development is more noticeable in the result: Instead of five to eight percent EBIT growth, it should be no more than two percent. And in the worst case, the result stagnates at the previous year's level.

The balance sheet of the recently volatile Fresenius share is historically outstanding: The paper has given investors an overall performance over the past 20 years, including a dividend of more than 1,000 percent, which is the best value in the DAX.

The development over the past two years on the other hand, it was a negative one with minus twelve percent, while the DAX rose by around eight percent during this period. After months of turmoil over the acquisition of Akorn – which has not yet come to an end, because the Americans have announced their appointment – the reduction in the forecast for the subsidiary FMC is again creating uncertainty. We reset the value to "hold".

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Image sources: Fresenius, Casimiro PT / Shutterstock.com

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