November 5, 2018 / 7:23 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Healthineers forecasts higher earnings in 2019 after Q4 beat

* Q4 comparable sales up 4 pct vs 5 pct in Q3

* Q4 profit down 6 pct at 627 million euros, IPO costs hurt

* Says placed 999 Atellica units by end of Sept (Adds details of results, outlook)

FRANKFURT, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Siemens Healthineers forecast higher earnings for next year after strong sales of its X-ray, computed tomography and ultrasound machines helped it post fiscal fourth-quarter profit above expectations on Monday.

The world’s largest maker of medical imaging gear, which was spun off from its parent Siemens in March, said operating profit fell 6 percent to 627 million euros ($714.3 million) in the three months to the end of September.

Adjusted for IPO costs of 47 million euros, profit for the quarter came in at 674 million euros, ahead of the average forecast of 651 million euros in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Comparable sales growth rose 4 percent to 3.7 billion euros, buoyed by a strong performance of its imaging division, its largest, where revenue rose 6 percent.

In its diagnostics unit, sales growth picked up to 3 percent after a 1 percent growth in the previous quarter, helped by faster placements of its Atellica blood and urine diagnostics machine.

The German firm said it had shipped 999 machines by the end of September, at the top end of its guidance for 800 to 1,000 machines and expects to have shipped up to 3,500 by the end of next year.

For its fiscal year 2019, Healthineers forecast an adjusted profit margin of 17.5 to 18.5 percent, compared with 17.2 percent achieved in the year ended September and comparable sales growth of 4 to 5 percent.

The company expects earnings per share to be 20 to 30 percent higher than the previous year as IPO and severance costs fall away. ($1 = 0.8778 euros) (Reporting by Caroline Copley, editing by Tassilo Hummel and Gopakumar Warrier)

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