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BERLIN, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s biggest provider of dialysis services, signalled a return to profit growth from 2020 on Wednesday and said it would buy back shares worth 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) over the next two years.

FMC, which has been burdened by a lower percentage of its patients on higher paying insurance schemes and contributions to campaigns to lobby against state ballot initiatives, said it expects adjusted sales growth of between 3-7 percent in 2019.

It forecast adjusted net income to either decline by up to 2 percent or rise by up to 2 percent this year as it ramps up investments in scaling its home dialysis business and China where it plans to build a network of more than 100 clinics.

The company said profit should increase again in a mid-to-high single digit range from 2020 and said it would pay a dividend of 1.17 euros ($1.33) per share, an increase of 10 percent on the previous year.

Adjusted net income rose 8 percent in the fourth quarter to 353 million euros, compared to the average forecast of 378 million euros in a Reuters poll. Sales declined 3 percent to 4.3 billion euros, slightly ahead of the consensus forecast.

$1 = 0.8818 euros
Reporting by Caroline Copley; editing by Thomas Seythal

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