February 19, 2019 / 6:13 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Straumann sales surge 23 pct, meets profit forecast

(Adds detail, background)

ZURICH, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Straumann’s annual sales increased at their fastest rate in 13 years, the dental implant maker said on Tuesday, helping the Swiss company meet profit forecasts.

Chief Executive Marco Gadola described 2018 as an “exceptional year”, helped by fast-growing emerging markets like China, Russia, Brazil and Turkey.

“Having set a high baseline in 2018, we believe that we can achieve further growth in the low-teen-percentage range this year, with further profitability improvements,” Gadola said in a statement.

Straumann should increase its operating profit margin (EBIT) during the year, the company said, from the 25.1 percent rate for 2018.

Basel-based Straumann reported 2018 net profit of 277.8 million Swiss francs ($276.4 million), matching an average of analyst forecasts in an Infront Data poll.

Full-year revenue rose 23 percent to 1.36 billion Swiss francs, the fastest rate since 2005. Organic revenue, which cuts out currency swings and acquisitions, increased by 19 percent, at the top end of the company’s guidance for a high-teens percentage rise.

$1 = 1.0050 Swiss francs Reporting by John Revill; editing by Thomas Seythal and Michael Shields

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