October 12, 2016 / 7:16 AM / 10 months ago

Belgium's Fagron misses sales expectations on weaker Europe, U.S.

BRUSSELS, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Belgian pharmaceutical ingredients group Fagron posted third quarter sales just below market expectations on Wednesday, as revenues fell in Europe and North America.

Net sales in the third quarter were down 1.1 percent year-on-year to 103.4 million euros ($115.8 million), just below a Reuters consensus of 106 million.

Fagron said that, while the European decline was due to a very strong third quarter last year, it still felt the pinch from a change in reimbursement policy for non-sterile products in the United States.

The troubles in the United States led to a sharp fall in Fagron's share price last year and caused its chief executive and founder to resign.

"People may say the numbers are not spectacular but you have to see where we are coming from. We believe we are on track," CEO Hans Stols told Reuters.

Having almost tripled since hitting a low in the February, albeit at much lower levels than in previous years, Fagron's shares were some 6 percent lower in early Wednesday trading.

Fagron repeated its 2016 outlook for turnover of at least 415 million euros and recurring core profit (REBITDA) of between 85 million and 95 million euros.

The group said it was considering the sale of its dental and orthopaedic equipment unit HL Technology, the last subsidiary not dealing with pharmaceutical compounding.

Stols also hinted that the group could return to making acquisitions.

"We have a list of companies we are looking at but there is nothing planned for this year," Stols said. ($1 = 0.8928 euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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