November 16, 2017 / 10:50 AM / in a month

UPDATE 1-Slovenia's Krka sees 2018 profit up, forms China joint venture

* 9-mth net profit 110.1 mln euros, up from 80.3 million

* Sales rise to 928.3 mln from 852.4 mln

* Expects 2017 net of 140 mln, 153 mln in 2018 (Recasts with forecasts, China joint venture)

LJUBLJANA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Generic drugs producer Krka on Thursday forecast an rebound in net profit this year and next and announced a Chinese joint venture that it expects to bolster sales.

Slovenia’s biggest company by market size said it expects a profit of 140 million euros this year, up from 108.4 million in 2016. It forecast a profit of 153 million for 2018.

Krka has formed a 60-40 joint venture in China with Ningbo Menovo Pharmaceutical, the company said, which will “be focused on development, production and marketing of (pharmaceutical) products ... with significant sales results expected in about three years”.

The joint venture will have a starting capital of 30 million euros and start operating at the start of 2018.

Krka reported a group net profit of 110.1 million euros for the first nine months of 2017, up from 80.3 million.

Its nine-month sales rose to 928.3 million euros from 852.4 million buoyed by a 21 percent rise in sales in Russia.

It forecast annual sales of 1.24 million euros, rising to 1.3 billion in 2018.

Krka said sales are expected to rise by at least 5 percent per year from 2018 to 2022, adding it will mainly focus on Europe, China and Central Asia.

Its nine-month sales rose to 928.3 million euros from 852.4 million.

$1 = 0.8488 euros Reporting by Marja Novak; editing by Mark Potter and Jason Neely

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