By Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Siemens Healthineers abandoned its profit guidance for its ongoing fiscal year, citing uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic even after the medical imaging and diagnostics company reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Its previous outlook for the year through September for growth in adjusted earnings per share of 6% to 12% would likely not be achieved, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

“There are no reliable forecasts for the duration or intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic, or for the associated opportunities and risks,” it said.

The German maker of x-ray, ultrasound and MRI scanners said its adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) edged 6% higher to 659 million euros ($718.31 million) in the January-March period, beating the average estimate of 563 million euros, according to an analyst survey posted on the company’s website.

Margins at its medical imaging business bounced back from a weak September-December quarter, helped by growth in the CT scanner business and demand for other molecular imaging machines.

Diagnostics sales, however, slipped as patients avoided check-ups for conditions not related to the virus.

Healthineers laid out plans last month to launch an antibody test to identify past coronavirus infections, eyeing an output of more than 25 million tests per month from June as it competes with rivals Roche and Abbott.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Michelle Martin)