UPDATE 1-Fresenius to quit biotech unit

Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:15am EST

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FRANKFURT, Dec 14 (Reuters) - German healthcare group Fresenius will exit its loss-making biotech business in order to focus on its other businesses, which it said offer better growth opportunities.

Fresenius said on Friday it was in talks with several parties over a sale of Fresenius Biotech, which had sales of 26 million euros ($34 million) in the first nine months of 2012 but posted a loss of 15 million euros.

It expects a loss before interest and tax of around 25 million euros at the unit, which has two products, for 2012.

The group said, however, it was considering keeping the division's profitable immunosuppressive drug ATG-Fresenius S, used in organ and stem cell transplants and which accounts for 87 percent of its sales in the biotech unit.

"ATG-Fresenius S has been well established in the hospital market for decades, and is consistently profitable," it said in a statement.

Selling the unit's other product, cancer drug Removab (catumaxomab), will help to improve earnings from 2013, Fresenius said.

Fresenius other businesses include world's largest dialysis group Fresenius Medical Care, generic infusion drug unit Kabi, hospitals unit Helios and healthcare management division Vamed.

It also confirmed an outlook for group sales to rise 12-14 percent to over 19 billion euros in 2012 and for net income of over 900 million.

($1 = 0.7641 euros) (Reporting by Victoria Bryan)

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