* Order intake rises 6% in fourth quarter
* Bookings strong for products linked to COVID-19 vaccines
* Core profit rises to 1.82 bln crowns from 1.67 bln
* CEO sees strong demand for ECMO gear in 2021 and 2022 (Adds CEO comment, detail, shares)
STOCKHOLM, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Swedish medical equipment maker Getinge is building a second production line for sterile transfer products to meet a spike in demand as COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing takes off.
The maker of products for surgery, intensive care and sterilization saw a spike in demand in 2020 for ventilators and other advanced life support equipment due to the pandemic, delivering no less than 26,000 ventilators.
While demand for ventilators peaked earlier in the year, it remained strong in the fourth quarter for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines, a kind of artificial lung, the company said on Thursday.
Demand for products used in sterile transfers in vaccine manufacturing, meanwhile, spiked from already high levels.
Shares in Getinge - one of the world’s biggest ventilator makers and market leader in the smaller and newer ECMO machines sector - were up 4.4% at 0956 GMT while the STOXX Europe health care index was down.
Chief Executive Mattias Perjos told Reuters Getinge’s French plant that makes sterile transfer gear had increased its shifts and the company had decided to build a second manufacturing line for the product, in the United States.
“There’s been a boost when the vaccine producers got going and we see that it’s going to be a hectic 2021,” he said in an interview, adding that the new production line would start shipping equipment in the second half of the year.
Perjos told Reuters he expected demand for ECMO machines to remain strong this year and next.
Getinge reported a 6% increase in orders in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, with a strong intake for sterile transfer gear. Operating profit before amortisation and one-off items rose 9% to 1.8 billion crowns ($217 million).
$1 = 8.3807 Swedish crowns Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Niklas Pollard and David Clarke