(Adds background on high-risk patients)
FRANKFURT, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Fresenius Medical Care (FMC) , the world’s largest kidney dialysis company, warned that adjusted net income would likely drop by a quarter this year as the coronavirus pandemic takes a heavy death toll among its patients.
“The significant acceleration in November and December 2020 of COVID-19 related patient excess mortality is expected to continue into 2021,” it said in an unscheduled statement on Monday.
Germany’s FMC said it expected revenue growth of up to mid-single percentage digits in 2021 with net income before restructuring measures seen falling by up to 25%.
The company, which derives about 70% of group sales from North America, provides blood cleansing to patients suffering from failed kidneys and it also manufactures the medical gear needed for the procedure.
A high proportion of its patients are elderly, overweight and diabetic, which are frequent causes of kidney failure, but also high-risk factors for severe COVID-19.
It added that it slightly exceeded its target for a high single-digit growth rate in 2020 adjusted net income, helped by cost cuts and as expensive measures to protect staff and patients against infection were largely compensated by government support.
FMC’s parent company, healthcare group Fresenius SE & Co , said 2020 net income declined, as previously guided, by as much as 4%, when adjusted for currency swings.
The two companies are scheduled to report detailed full-year results on Feb. 23.
Reporting by Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt Editing by Richard Pullin