May 3, 2017 / 6:59 AM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Fresenius ups guidance on growth at generic drugs unit

* Sees adj profit up 19-21 pct vs previous target 17-20 pct

* Excl effects from purchases of Akorn, Merck biosimilars

* Q1 adj net income up 28 pct at 457 mln eur vs poll 422 mln

* Unit FMC shored up by reimbursement, drug cost control (Adds FMC results, premarket shares)

By Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT, May 3 (Reuters) - German healthcare group Fresenius on Wednesday toned up its earnings guidance for the year as demand for recently launched generic infusion drugs continued to grow at higher-than-expected rates.

For 2017, it now expects adjusted net income to grow by 19 to 21 percent, excluding the effect of currency swings, compared with a previous target for a 17 to 20 percent gain, to be shored up later this year by market launches of more than 10 products that have lost patent protection.

That excludes one-off charges of about 50 million euros expected from the last week's deals to acquire U.S. generic drugmaker Akorn Inc for $4.75 billion and the biosimilars arm of Germany's Merck KGaA and another 50 million euros in planned expenditures to build the Merck business later this year.

First-quarter adjusted net income jumped 28 percent to 457 million euros ($500 million), bolstered by recently launched drugs and the acquisition of Spanish hospital chain Quironsalud, coming in above the average estimate of 422 million euros in a Reuters poll of analysts.

The shares were seen 1.5 percent higher in pre-market trades ahead of the 0700 GMT market open, amid an overall German stock market that was indicated slightly lower.

Separately listed subsidiary Fresenius Medical Care , which derives about three quarters of sales from North America, posted a 17 percent gain in quarterly adjusted net income, benefiting from higher reimbursement rates and lower costs of medicines for dialysis patients.

First-quarter adjusted net income of 249 million euros excluded a one-off gain of 59 million euros from settling a dispute with the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Justice over outstanding payments.

$1 = 0.9146 euros Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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