May 4, 2018 / 6:35 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Lonza confirms targets as gets off to good start

(Adds details and background)

ZURICH, May 4 (Reuters) - Swiss drug ingredients maker Lonza confirmed its guidance on Friday and said it had got off to a good start this year.

"Lonza confirms ongoing strong momentum for its businesses along the healthcare continuum and is confident to achieve a positive half-year result 2018," it said without giving detailed financial figures.

"The strong business momentum also makes Lonza fully confident of achieving, at a minimum, the previously communicated full-year guidance of mid-single-digit sales growth on a comparable basis in line with mid-term guidance 2022 and 100 (basis point) improvement in core EBITDA margin in line with mid-term guidance 2022," it added.

Lonza in January forecast a 2018 operating profit margin that fell short of market expectations.

Lonza makes molecules for drug companies and ingredients for nutritional supplements. It is betting that customised viruses made at a giant new factory in Texas will be the lucrative raw materials of a medical revolution.

Lonza has said it was under no pressure to divest any of its businesses, including its lone consumer business, the HTH-brand swimming pool chemicals unit.

But it said on Friday it had hired an investment bank to advise on all strategic options for the Water Care division, whose restructuring, business model re-design and strategic review were continuing as planned. (Reporting by Michael Shields Editing by Tom Sims and Angelika Gruber)

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