UPDATE 1-Germany's Fresenius net income beats on strong dialysis, drugs units

(Adds details, CEO quote, background)

Oct 29 (Reuters) - German healthcare group Fresenius SE & Co third-quarter net income beat expectations on Thursday, buoyed by strong earnings at its dialysis unit, recovery in generic drugs and a rise in elective procedures at its hospitals.

The growth was due to its infusion drug unit Kabi’s recovery in Europe and China, and hospital operator Helios’ sales growth from renewed elective procedures, the company said in a statement.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a mixed blessing for healthcare companies as expenses, including the purchase of protective gear, counterbalanced benefits from subsidies and increased demand for selected drugs, equipment or 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.

Net income grew by 1% in constant currency to 427 million euros ($505 million) for the quarter ended Sept. 30, slightly above analysts’ average forecast of 418 million euros in a company-provided poll.

The group confirmed its guidance for full-year earnings development between -4% and 1% as well as revenue growth between 3% and 6%.

Fresenius’ separately listed dialysis unit, Fresenius Medical Care, said its net income came in at 354 million euros ($418 million) for the quarter ended Sept. 30, above analyst consensus, as it was able to maintain operations and minimize risk for its patients during the pandemic.

$1 = 0.8461 euros Reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska in Gdansk; Editing by Rashmi Aich