Fresenius lifts 2023 outlook for hospital drugs unit Kabi

A Fresenius SE logo is pictured in Bad Homburg near Frankfurt

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German healthcare group Fresenius SE lifted its earnings target for generic hospital drugs unit Kabi, citing demand for blood plasma products and clinical nutrition and the planned launches of generic biotech drugs in the United States.

Kabi's 2023 sales, adjusted for currency swings, would likely grow by a "mid-single-digit" percentage, where it had previously predicted a "low-to mid-single-digit" gain, Fresenius said ahead of an investor event on Thursday.

It is now targeting an operating profit margin over sales of about 14%, up from about 13% seen previously.

Fresenius CEO Michael Sen, who took the helm last October, is cutting costs and has said the group would focus on Kabi and hospitals operator Helios, while dialysis business Fresenius Medical Care and project development firm Vamed would be treated as financial investments.

Kabi and hospitals chain Helios accounted for 19% and 30% of first-quarter group sales, respectively.

Kabi is benefiting from "being there when there is more demand for plasma and when demand for clinical nutrition in hospitals is returning to pre-COVID levels," Sen told Reuters.

"To be there with innovative products is what's driving growth in the first quarter and what's making Kabi more confident," he added.

In addition, Kabi has invested heavily in its fledgling biosimilars business, a maker of lower-cost versions of complex biotech drugs that have lost patent protection, and has started launching products in the United States.

The company also specified that Kabi's operating profit margin would reach the upper end of its medium-term target range of 14%-17% by 2026.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Patricia Weiss; Editing by Madeline Chambers)