March 26, 2009 / 8:49 AM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Celesio sees EBITDA up by half in 2015

* Q1 sales, EBITDA to decline yr-on-yr

* Q4 loss 211.2 mln eur, worse than expected

* Sees more than 1 bln eur in EBITDA in 2015

* Shares down 1.5 pct

(Adds details, background)

STUTTGART, Germany, March 26 (Reuters) - Celesio CLSGn.DE is bracing for an earnings decline this quarter but raised the prospect of a gain in core earnings by more than half by 2015, the German drugs wholesaler said on Thursday.

Celesio, which also operates drug retail chains including Lloydspharmacy, posted a fourth-quarter net loss of 211.2 million euros ($286.7 million), worse than expected, on write-downs on pharmacies and a decline in the pound.

Analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected a loss of 192 million euros.

The company is being affected by lower payments for generic drugs introduced by the UK’s National Health Service and from the weak pound.

While Celesio expects sales and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to decline further in the first quarter, it said it now targeted 2015 EBITDA of more than 1 billion euros, an increase by more than half from last year, helped by acquisitions and synergies.

Celesio shares were down 0.9 percent at 14.80 euros by 0846 GMT, while the DJ Stoxx European healthcare sector index .SXDP was up 1.1 percent. (Reporting by Ludwig Burger, Editing by Michael Shields)

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