* Fresenius beats Q3 expectations, confirms guidance
* Other regions, segments offset lower sales in North America
* Cost-cutting aids profits (Adds CEO comments)
Oct 29 (Reuters) - German healthcare group Fresenius SE & Co’s third-quarter net profit on Thursday beat expectations as elective procedures at its hospitals, strong dialysis sales and recovery in Europe and China offset weakness in North America.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left healthcare companies facing supply constraints and new expenses that have undermined the positive earnings impact of increased demand for selected drugs, equipment and services.
“Despite the ongoing and in some cases drastic restrictions caused by COVID-19, our patients could continue to rely on and benefit from our care,” Chief Executive Officer Stephan Sturm said in a statement.
Fresenius said third-quarter net income grew by 1% in constant currency to 427 million euros ($505 million), beating expectations of 418 million euros.
Its hospital unit Helios’ revenue growth from renewed elective procedures and infusion drug unit Kabi’s recovery in Europe and China outweighed lower medicine sales because of supply constraints in North America.
“As of today, we expect no meaningful impact on our ability to run our hospital operations,” Sturm told a conference call, adding that elective medical procedures were not prohibited in any of Helios’ geographies.
He saw a broad consensus among doctors and politicians that a complete lockdown with a quasi-prohibition of elective surgeries should not be repeated.
Targeted cost-saving initiatives, including at Fresenius’ hospital business, also made a positive contribution to the group’s third-quarter figures, the CEO said, adding he expects many of those savings to be sustained.
Fresenius’ separately listed dialysis unit, Fresenius Medical Care, said its net income was 354 million euros for the quarter ended Sept. 30, as it was able to maintain operations and minimise risk for its patients.
$1 = 0.8461 euros Reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska in Gdansk; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Barbara Lewis
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