Healthineers says measures to improve lab systems launch bearing fruit

Healthineers says measures to improve lab systems launch bearing fruit
FILE PHOTO: Siemens logo is pictured on a CT scan in the manufacturing plant of Siemens Healthineers in Forchheim near Nuremberg, Germany, October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle -
Michaela Rehle(Reuters)
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BERLIN (Reuters) - Siemens Healthineers said on Thursday measures to improve the roll-out of its new blood and urine testing machines were bearing fruit, as strong sales of its imaging gear helped it post quarterly revenue and earnings growth above forecasts.

The German health technology firm is pinning its hopes on its Atellica machine to turn around its In-Vitro diagnostics business which lags market leader Roche, but lengthy installation times at large and complex laboratories have dragged down profit in the division.

Healthineers said it had shipped over 410 Atellica Solution analyzers in the three months to the end of March, and over 780 machines in the first six months of its fiscal year. It has also won approval for the device in China.

"The measures taken to ensure a successful market launch of our laboratory diagnostics platform Atellica Solution have shown an early impact in the second quarter," said Chief Executive Bernd Montag.

Nonetheless, the company noted in its half year report that costs associated with the ramp-up would push down the profit margin in its diagnostics division to below last year's level, while comparable sales growth should come in below its mid-term target range of 4-6 percent.

Despite the costs associated with the Atellica launch, Healthineers posted a 24 percent rise in net profit for its fiscal second quarter to 381 million euros (£327.2 million), versus consensus forecasts for 374 million euros.

Currency-adjusted sales rose 5.8 percent to 3.5 billion euros, also ahead of analyst forecasts, helped by strong sales of molecular imaging, computed tomography and X-Ray gear as well as products in its Advanced Therapies division.

The group's adjusted profit margin for the quarter came in at 17.9 percent, and Healthineers confirmed its guidance for a profit margin of 17.5 to 18.5 percent for its 2019 fiscal year, and comparable sales growth of 4 to 5 percent.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley; editing by Thomas Seythal and Darren Schuettler)

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