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Pharmaceuticals

Medical company Fresenius is unfazed by Greek haircut

Amid announcements of record profits in 2011, DAX-listed medical company Fresenius says the Greek haircut will not affect the company, although it still has a bunch of outstanding debts to settle with Athens.

Fresenius, a leading producer of medical products, said on Tuesday that any payments the company is still waiting to receive from its business in Greece would not be affected by the write-down just reached by eurozone finance ministers in Brussels.

Officials from the company, which is based in Bad Homburg, Germany, said they were confident the Greek haircut would not impact their firm at all.

"It's our understanding that we will not have to contribute to the write-down," Chief Finance Officer Stephan Sturm said in a statement.

Sturm said Fresenius had received zero bonds from Greece for outstanding debt. He added that such zero bonds – unlike ordinary state bonds – would not be part of the bond swap as a result of the agreed haircut.

In addition, Fresenius had already disposed of a "good proportion" of its Greek bonds and would therefore not be in for a nasty surprise, Sturm explained.

The company admitted, though, that fresh investments in Greece would be highly unlikely for the time being.

Sound footing

Also on Tuesday, Fresenius announced it posted record sales and earnings in 2011. Net profit last year jumped by 17 percent to 770 million euros ($1.02 billion). Revenues rose by three percent to 16.5 billion euros.

"2011 was another successful year for Fresenius," the company's Chief Executive Ulf Mark Schneider said.

Its subsidiary, Fresenius Medical Care (FMC), also logged record results in 2011. The world's leading supplier of renal care products and services, said prospects for this year were also very positive.

FMC reported a nine-percent increase in bottom-line net profit and a six-percent boost in sales last year.

"With our strong performance in 2011, we are on track for the fifteenth consecutive dividend increase for our shareholders," said FMC Chief Executive Ben Lipps.

Both Fresenius and its subsidiary FMC are listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

hg/nk  (Reuters, AFP)