Fresenius Medical Plunges as Dialysis Patients Hit by Pandemic

(Bloomberg) — Fresenius Medical Care AG fell the most in more than two years after the kidney-dialysis company said profit will shrink this year as more patients die from Covid-19.

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The “significant acceleration” in patient deaths started in November and has continued into 2021, the company said in a statement Monday evening. Fresenius Medical Care also expects to keep spending more than usual on safety measures for patients and staff.

The German company’s warning captures the toll the pandemic has wrought on countries around the globe, particularly in recent months, with deaths exceeding 2.2 million worldwide. People who are on dialysis and contract Covid are considered to be at high risk, according to the New York-based National Kidney Foundation.

Fresenius Medical shares fell as much as 11% in Frankfurt, their steepest decline since Oct. 17, 2018.

Based on recent trends, Fresenius Medical forecast profit will fall by about 25% this year while sales grow in the mid-single digits. The company is monitoring the pace of patient deaths, the roll out of Covid vaccines and government relief measures, and will offer more commentary when delivering earnings on Feb. 23, it said.

Shares of Fresenius SE, the German conglomerate that owns a third of Fresenius Medical, fell 7% after it forecast “healthy” sales growth and broadly stable net income for 2021. Even that outlook will “disappoint the bulls” who were expecting double-digit net income growth at constant exchange rates, Jefferies analyst James Vane-Tempest wrote in a note.

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