* FMC cuts its earnings target for 2018
* Cites slower growth of dialysis services in North America
* Shares slump 15 pct, to lowest in nearly 2 yrs
* Fresenius sees net income growth at low end of range
* FMC shares slump 13.7 pct, Fresenius down 8.9 pct (Recasts, adds outlook, analyst, trader comment, changes dateline)
FRANKFURT, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Shares in Germany’s Fresenius Medical Care were poised to mark their biggest ever one-day drop after the group cut its earnings target for the year, citing slower growth in dialysis services in North America, its largest market.
“While we were able to improve profitability in North America, the growth acceleration in the region did not materialize as fast as anticipated,” said Chief Executive Officer Rice Powell.
Shares in the company slumped 15 percent by 0812 GMT, to their lowest in almost two years, the worst performance on the STOXX Europe 600 index
Group net income for 2018 is expected to increase by 11 to 12 percent, compared with a previous guidance of 13 to 15 percent, when adjusted for currency swings and excluding the effect of the planned acquisition of NxStage Medical.
“The new guidance implies a sharp deceleration in both revenue and net income trends in Q4 and the market is likely to be concerned that these pressures will weigh on growth in 2019,” said Berenberg analyst Tom Jones.
“Warnings from FMC are very rare,” said a trader, who asked not to be named, adding that the market had deemed the previous forecast as conservative.
The company said it now expects sales to rise by 2 to 3 percent from a previous forecast for 5 to 7 percent.
It said preliminary third-quarter figures showed that sales fell around 6 percent to 4.06 billion euros ($4.70 billion), while adjusted net income was down 2 percent to 310 million euros.
FMC cited a higher percentage of patients on lower paying insurance schemes in the United States as well as contributions to campaigns there to lobby against certain state ballot initiatives that would affect its business.
Parent company Fresenius, a maker of generic infusion drugs and operator of hospital chains, said it now expected net income to grow at the low end of the original 6-9 percent range, when adjusted for currency swings.
Fresenius shares fell 8.9 percent, the second-worst performer on the STOXX Europe 600.
$1 = 0.8643 euros Reporting by Emma Thomasson and Patricia Weiss Writing by Ludwig Burger editing by Grant McCool and Louise Heavens