March 14, 2018 / 7:05 PM / 9 months ago

France's Korian sees eventual margin gain from real estate investment

March 14 (Reuters) - French nursing home operator Korian reported full year results on Wednesday and said it was raising its margin targets for 2019 and 2021 as a result of the benefits it sees from its real estate investment strategy.

Korian said in 2017 it aimed to invest the equivalent of 500 million euros in real estate by 2022, and has signed a partnership with real estate investment company Icade for 15 projects in France.

The company reported on Wednesday EBITDA of 440 million euros for 2017, up 4.3 percent and said it expected a “limited decline” in operating margin in 2018.

For 2019 it expects an operating (EBITDA) margin of 14.3 percent and close to 15 percent in 2021. It had previously targeted an operating margin of 14.0 percent in 2019 and 14.5 percent in 2021.

During 2017, the company invested 142 million euros in developing its wholly-owned real estate portfolio, up from 52 million in 2016.

Shares in the company, which competes with domestic peer Orpea, fell sharply in February when it said it expected investments in France to weigh on margins in 2018.

Recently the subject of takeover speculation, Korian denied earlier this month a report that investment funds including PAI Partners and KKR were interested in buying it.

It proposed a stable dividend of 0.60 euro per share for 2017. (Reporting by Alan Charlish; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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