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FRANKFURT, May 18 (Reuters) - German's Merck KGaA said first-quarter adjusted core earnings rose 14.5 percent, shored up by strong demand for its biotech lab supplies and inflated by an advance drug license payment.
Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to 1.24 billion euros ($1.38 billion), above the 1.19 billion euro expected on average by analysts in a Reuters poll.
Merck said it now expected 2017 adjusted EBITDA of between 4.4-4.6 billion euros, compared with last year's 4.5 billion euros. It had previously said earnings would be broadly flat. ($1 = 0.8974 euros) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Harro ten Wolde)