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Health

Draegerwerk to supply ventilators elsewhere as Germany has enough

FILE PHOTO: A CT scan picture shows lungs of 48-year-old coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient Andre Bergmann, in this screen grab released on April 14, 2020 by the Bethanien Hospital lung clinic in Moers, Germany. HOSPITAL BETHANIEN MOERS/THOMAS VOSHAAR/Handout via REUTERS.

BERLIN (Reuters) - German medical equipment maker Draegerwerk has agreed to stop delivering ventilators to the German government and will instead focus on supplying other countries that are more in need of equipment to treat coronavirus patients.

As Germany grappled with the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March, the government placed an order for 10,000 ventilators for intensive respiratory care, the company’s largest order ever and equivalent to a year’s normal production.

But Europe’s biggest economy has seen fewer deaths than neighbours like France and Italy, owing to widespread testing, a well-equipped healthcare system and good adherence to social distancing.

Even though coronavirus cases have increased in recent weeks, there were only 233 COVID-19 patients in intensive care in Germany as of Thursday, of whom 129 were being ventilated, according to the DIVI intensive care register.

Draegerwerk said it has agreed with the German government not to deliver any more than the 1,557 devices already provided. The government will bear the costs for providing and upholding production capacity at Draegerwerk’s factory in the north German city of Luebeck.

The capacities that are freed up mean the company can supply markets outside Germany where ventilators are still urgently needed.

The change to the order has not impacted its full-year guidance, Draegerwerk said.

It still expects currency-adjusted net sales growth of 14% to 22% for 2020. The operating profit margin is expected to be between 7.0% and 11.0%.

Reporting by Caroline Copley, editing by Emma Thomasson and Carmel Crimmins

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