May 4 (Bloomberg) -- Fresenius Medical Care AG, the world’s biggest provider of kidney dialysis, reported a higher first-quarter profit on increased demand for blood cleansing services.
Profit rose 7 percent to $211 million, the Bad Homburg, Germany-based company said today in a statement. Sales increased 13 percent to $2.88 billion. Earnings fell short of the average estimate of $214 million from 5 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Fresenius reiterated that it expects profit growth of as much as 10 percent this year to between $950 million and $980 million, compared with $891 million in 2009, and revenue of more than $12 billion. The company has said it’s doubling the budget for acquisitions to as much as $400 million this year as pressure on health costs creates opportunities for deals at attractive prices.
“Strong organic growth is expected to continue and we also expect to strengthen our global presence through selective acquisitions, especially in the area of dialysis services,” Chief Executive Officer Ben Lipps said in the statement.
Fresenius shares fell 0.4 percent to 40.94 euros in Frankfurt trading. The stock has gained 11 percent this year.
Fresenius’s sales in North America, its largest market, rose 10 percent to $1.96 billion. Average revenue per treatment in the region increased to $355 in the first quarter from $338 a year earlier, helped by higher reimbursement rates. Average revenue per treatment was $357 in the fourth quarter of 2009.
The company has said it faces changes as the U.S. introduces a bundled pricing system in 2011 to cap fees for dialysis at about $250 for each treatment for Medicare patients.
Parent company Fresenius SE reported first-quarter profit including special items of 119 million euros ($157 million), an increase of 8 percent from last year, and reiterated that it expects sales to increase between 7 percent and 9 percent. Profit including special items should rise between 8 percent and 10 percent, the company said.
Fresenius, also based in Bad Homburg, operates private hospital operator Helios and the Vamed services unit; Fresenius Kabi, which sells infusion therapies and clinical nutrition; and a biotechnology unit.
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