Straumann CEO expects European market to remain difficult

ZURICH Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:52am EST

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ZURICH Feb 25 (Reuters) - Straumann expects the outlook for its biggest market, Europe, to remain difficult this year with weakness in Germany in particular expected to cause a further fall in sales, its chief executive said in an interview on Tuesday.

Marco Gadola said weak demand in Germany, where sales fell 5 percent last year, was likely to persist again in 2014, weighing on its overall outlook for Europe.

"It's very difficult to forecast how this market will develop in 2014. Germany can make or break it," the Basel-based dental implant maker's Chief Executive said.

"We are anticipating in our outlook that we will see a more or less similar situation in Germany in 2014 as we have seen in 2013, so no recovery for that market," he said.

This would bring Straumann's overall outlook for Europe into a "slightly negative region," Gadola said.

In contrast, he said was "very positive" for the Asia Pacific region, where he expects a recovery in Japan. In North America, he sees further potential for growth, while sales in Brazil should support Latin America.

Overall, Straumann expects sales growth in the low-single digits this year, which should be "slightly better" than the overall market. (Reporting by Caroline Copley)

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