March 2, 2018 / 7:07 AM / in a year

UPDATE 2-Elekta shares jump on forecast-beating Q3 earnings

(Adds shares, CEO comment)

March 2 (Reuters) - Swedish radiation therapy equipment maker Elekta on Friday reported above-forecast earnings and order intake for its fiscal third quarter, sending shares higher and outweighing a cut margin forecast for the full year.

* Q3 ‍gross order intake was 3,833 million SEK ($465 million), up 9 percent based on constant exchange rates, and far above a 3,288 million mean analyst forecast

* Q3 ‍EBITA (earnings before interest, tax and amortization), adjusted for items affecting comparability and bad debt losses, rose to 502 million from 325 million in the year-ago quarter, beating a 483 million average analyst forecast in a Reuters poll

* Elekta shares rise as much as 11 percent in early trading, up 8 percent at 0719 GMT

* “I am very pleased with the quarterly performance. We delivered a strong quarter, and even more importantly we continued to build a solid foundation for future growth,” Chief Executive Richard Hausmann told Reuters ​

* Says ‍we remain committed to reaching an EBITA margin of over 20 percent, but cuts expectation for current fiscal year to around 19 percent

* The company had been targeting an EBITA margin of more than 20 percent in fiscal year 2017/18​

* The average analyst forecast was for a full year EBITA margin of 19.4 percent

* Elekta says lower margin target due to less favourable FX effects and the impact from a previously announced launch delay of its new radiation therapy machine Unity

* Elekta counts U.S. firm Varian Medical Systems as its main rival

* Its shares were up 11 percent YTD until Thursday’s close, double the gain for Varian, and sharply outperforming a 6 percent drop in the STOXX Europe 600 Healthcare Index ​

* Says two new Elekta Unity orders were booked in quarter. The new machine is seen as an important future growth-driver​ Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: ($1 = 8.2484 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; Editing by Simon Johnson)

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