FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Fresenius Medical Care, the world's largest dialysis provider, said it needed a "very strong" fourth quarter to meet its full-year profit forecast, hurt by cuts to healthcare budgets in the United States, its most important market.
The company said on Tuesday it was aiming for a full-year net income at the low end of its previous target range of between $1.1 billion and $1.15 billion.
"There is no doubt that we need a very strong fourth quarter to get there," Chief Executive Officer Rice Powell said in a statement.
Analysts are on average expecting full-year net income of $1.11 billion.
A 2 percent reduction in U.S. federal spending under automatic cuts known as sequestration kicked in earlier this year, hurting healthcare providers.
More austerity measures are expected next year, which are slated to be announced by the U.S. federal agency that sets dialysis reimbursement rates on Nov 27 at the latest.
Lower reimbursement for dialysis providers by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will mainly reflect a drop in the use of an expensive drug to treat anemia, a common side effect associated with dialysis.
FMC launched a cost-cutting program at the beginning of the year but it did not provide details on Tuesday.
Third-quarter net income edged 1.2 percent higher to $273 million, just above the $268 million predicted by analysts on average.
Pretax profit slipped 1.2 percent to $454 million, slightly less than analysts' average estimate.
German diversified healthcare group Fresenius SE, which controls FMC, reported better-than-expected quarterly adjusted net income on Tuesday.
Net profit before one-off items gained 9 percent to 271 million euros ($366 million) helped by higher operating earnings at its hospitals chain Helios.
Fresenius confirmed its outlook for 2013 adjusted net income to increase by 11-14 percent, excluding the effect of currency swings.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Mark Potter)