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Online pharmacy Zur Rose improves 2022 core loss target

Logo of Swiss-based Zur Rose Group is seen in Frauenfeld

(Reuters) -Zur Rose expects a smaller full-year core loss than previously guided, the Swiss online drug retailer said on Thursday, citing a faster-than-planned progress in its break-even programme for 2023.

It forecast adjusted core loss (EBITDA) of between 70 million and 75 million Swiss francs ($76.39 million and $81.84 million) in 2022, compared with its previous range of 75 million to 85 million francs.

The company said its external revenue was 1.84 billion francs in 2022, down 5.4% year-on-year but in line with its annual guidance.

External revenue means the group's consolidated revenue together with mail-order revenue of pharmacies it supplies, after removing the revenue from their supply.

Protracted delays in Germany's e-prescription roll-out have clouded the growth outlook for online pharmacies such as Zur Rose and Frankfurt-listed peer Shop Apotheke, and exposed their stocks to volatility amid the slow and uncertain progress.

Zur Rose said it should be possible to redeem e-prescriptions in pharmacies using the electronic health card from mid-2023, with a nationwide introduction expected from the summer of 2023.

Germany, which made up two thirds of the company's external revenue in 2021, accounted for 59% of Zur Rose's revenue in 2022.

Zur Rose said it would provide an outlook for 2023 along with its full annual results on March 23.

($1 = 0.9164 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Tristan Chabba and Anastasiia Kozlova in Gdansk; Editing by Milla Nissi)