FRANKFURT, May 15 (Reuters) - The head of Fresenius Medical Care, the world's largest kidney dialysis provider, said the group would stick to its policy of annual dividend gains even though healthcare spending cuts in the United States will lead to lower earnings in 2014.
"It is very important to us to maintain our continuity in dividend policy... Our policy was to stick to growth for 17 consecutive (annual) dividends and we would hope there will be a 18th consecutive and 19th consecutive," Chief Executive Rice Powell told shareholders at the group's annual general meeting.
"We intend to do this in a way that is beneficial to our shareholders as best we can."
FMC earlier this year forecast a second successive fall in annual net income, aiming for between $1 billion and $1.05 billion in 2014, down from $1.11 billion last year. (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Arno Schuetze)