BAD HOMBURG (dpa-AFX) - The medical group and hospital operator Fresenius has made a strong start to the 2024 financial year. The company raised its forecast for the current year thanks to good business with products for clinical nutrition, infusions and pharmaceuticals. The Group is also completing its strategic reorganization with the separation from healthcare provider Vamed. Fresenius shares rose following the news on Wednesday.

At times, the share price rose by five percent to 29.55 euros, its highest level since September. In the afternoon, however, the share was only up 0.75 percent. "The forecast increase and the exit of Vamed should have a positive effect on sentiment," wrote industry expert David Adlington from US bank JPMorgan. However, the experts' expectations were already at the upper end of the previous range.

For 2024, Fresenius' top management now expects organic sales growth of between 4 and 7 percent, as the DAX-listed company had already announced in Bad Homburg on Tuesday evening. This is one percentage point more than previously expected. Operating earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) are now expected to grow by 6 to 10 percent in constant currency. The previous target range had been 4 to 8 percent.

The increase in the forecast is reportedly based on improved prospects for the subsidiary Fresenius Kabi. This is one of the leading providers in the fields of clinical nutrition, intravenous drugs, infusions, medical products and biopharmaceuticals. In addition, the former subsidiary Vamed is no longer included in the annual targets.

Analyst Graham Doyle from the major Swiss bank UBS sees the raising of the targets so early in the year as positive, especially as the business of the subsidiary Kabi has been rather mixed in the past. Industry expert James Vane-Tempest from analysts Jefferies was slightly surprised by the Fresenius figures.

Group sales grew organically by 6 percent year-on-year to 5.7 billion euros in the first quarter, as Fresenius announced on Wednesday. Analysts had expected slightly less. Adjusted for special effects, the company's operating result (EBIT) grew by 15 percent to 633 million euros. At Kabi, currency-adjusted sales grew by 9 percent. The division's operating margin improved to 15.1 percent, in particular because the biopharma business reached the break-even point.

In future, Fresenius will only consist of the hospital division Helios and the subsidiary Kabi. Having recently agreed the sale of a majority stake in Vamed's rehabilitation business to a financial investor, the Group has now also found a buyer for the Vamed business in Austria. A consortium consisting of the Austrian construction companies Porr and Strabag will take over the business for 90 million euros, Fresenius announced.

According to the information provided, this involves business units responsible for the technical operation of the Vienna General Hospital. The consortium is also taking over the Austrian project business of the Health Tech Engineering segment as well as shares in several thermal spas. The Vamed hospital services business, on the other hand, will be transferred to the Fresenius Group.

"With the exit from Vamed, our strategic portfolio reorganization has been completed as planned," said Fresenius CEO Michael Sen. As of the second quarter, Vamed will no longer be part of the Group's reporting segments. Fresenius intends to reduce its complexity and improve its profitability by more than 0.5 percentage points. The former subsidiary Fresenius Medical Care (FMC) is now only an investment for Fresenius - with a share of around one third./lfi/stw/he