* Lonza says Capsugel integration on track
* Says storms in Texas won't delay new plant
* Lauds 'strong performance' but gives no specifics (Adds background, details)
By John Miller
ZURICH, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Swiss drug ingredients maker Lonza on Thursday confirmed its 2017 targets after what it called a "strong performance" in the first nine months of the year, while adding integration of its $5.5 billion Capsugel purchase was on track.
Lonza's full-year targets call for high-single-digit sales growth, core earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisisation (EBITDA) above 1 billion Swiss francs ($1.01 billion), double-digit core EBIT growth significantly above sales growth, and core return on net operating assets above the 21.5 percent in 2016.
Lonza has gone through a period of significant expansion, having bought U.S.-based capsule maker Capsugel as well as InterHealth Nutraceuticals for $300 million in 2016. It is now seeking to bring the new additions into the fold and has said that further large acquisitions before the integration of Capsugel is complete are unlikely.
"Lonza sustained strong performance and growth of the company in the first nine months of the year," Chief Executive Richard Ridinger said. "Our focus now is on the successful integration of Capsugel."
Lonza did not give any detailed financial figures for the third quarter or nine-month period, saving that for its full-year report early next year.
The Basel-based company, whose products range from ingredients for Roche cancer drugs to HTH-brand swimming pool chemicals, is also seeking to expand its new drug product services to capture more outsourcing business from drugmakers.
Last year, it poached Roche's biologics supply manager to help build up the unit, including aims of adding "fill and finish" services for the final stages of production for complex biotech medicines delivered via syringe or infusion.
Lonza said its new cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility in Pearland near Houston, Texas, was on track to open in early 2018 despite hurricanes and tropical storms that hit the region this year. ($1 = 0.9886 Swiss francs) (Editing by Michael Shields)