Healthcare Business News

Dialysis giant Fresenius aims to unload biotech unit, focus on core areas

By Beth Kutscher
Posted: December 14, 2012 - 2:45 pm ET

Fresenius Medical Care, the world's largest dialysis services provider, plans to sell its biotech division to focus on its four more lucrative businesses.

The German company said in a news release that it is in talks with “several parties” about a sale of Fresenius Biotech, and specifically its biologic Removab, which treats malignant ascites, or abdominal fluid build-up.

However, it is hoping to retain its immunosuppressive drug ATG-Fresenius S, which it describes as “consistently profitable.” A decision about the divestiture will be made in the first quarter, according to the release.

The healthcare conglomerate plans to focus instead on its core dialysis business as well as Fresenius Kabi, its infusion therapy and clinical nutrition arm; Fresenius Helios, which operates hospitals, and Fresenius Vamed, which builds and manages healthcare facilities.

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The company has been an active dealmaker of late in an attempt to build up its more established divisions. In July, it forged a deal to acquire Fenwal, a Lake Zurich, Ill., blood technology company for an undisclosed amount. It also launched an unsuccessful bid to take over German hospital operator Rhoen-Klinikum.

A research note from RBC Capital Markets said the company has faced delays in absorbing its 2011 acquisitions, Liberty Dialysis Holdings and Renal Advantage, after the FTC put a hold on the integration until required divestitures are complete.

Fresenius said it expects the biotech unit to yield negative earnings before taxes and interest of about $32.9 million for 2012. Net income for the entire company is expected to exceed $1.18 billion.

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