November 21, 2019 / 7:56 AM / 22 days ago

UPDATE 1-Slovenian drugmaker Krka's nine-month profit up, full-year to beat its forecast

* Full-year profit seen at 200 mln euros

* Full year sales seen up by 7%

* 2020 profit seen at 210 mln euros (Updates with quote, details)

LJUBLJANA, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Slovenian pharmaceutical producer Krka made a group net profit of 171.9 million euros ($190.3 million) in the first nine months of 2019 versus 120.8 million in the same period of 2018 on higher sales, the company said on Thursday.

Full-year profit would reach about 200 million euros compared to 172 million expected earlier and would be some 15% higher than last year, the company said. Krka forecast a profit of 210 million euros next year.

Sales rose by 12% year-on-year to 1.1 billion euros and are expected to reach 1.4 billion euros by the end of 2019 which would be 7% higher than last year. Sales are seen at 1.5 billion in 2020, the company said.

“In the period of 2020 to 2024, Krka expects an average annual sales growth of at least 5%,” Krka said in a statement, adding growth would be achieved by expanding production, forming joint ventures and takeovers. It gave no further details.

It said sales in Eastern Europe, Krka’s largest market, rose 18% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2019 with the highest growth seen in Ukraine with 43%. Sales in Western Europe increased by 16%.

Krka, Slovenia’s largest listed company with market capitalisation of some 2.3 billion euros, plans to increase the number of its employees to more than 12,300 by the end of 2020 from 11,500 now.

$1 = 0.9032 euros Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Toby Chopra and Edmund Blair

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