(Adds background, details, shares)
June 1 (Reuters) - Swedish radiotherapy equipment maker Elekta posted on Thursday a surprise drop in fiscal fourth-quarter core earnings and order intake fell far below forecasts, sending shares sharply lower.
* Feb-Apr EBITA excl. one-off items and bad debt losses fell yr/yr to 779 mln SEK ($89 mln) from 785 mln vs Reuters poll fcast of 1,018 mln
* Elekta, which has seen operating profit fall for three straight years, said Q4 gross order intake fell to 4.37 bln SEK (5.24) vs fcast 5.0 bln
* Elekta shares fell as much as 11 pct after the earnings release, and were down 6.2 pct by 1200 GMT, vs a 0.2 pct rise for the STOXX Europe 600 Health Care Index
* Q4 order intake in North and South America, Elekta's biggest region with 36 pct of group sales, fell 19 pct
* Said Elekta's main challenge and priority is the U.S., where it have accelerated the improvement measures launched earlier
* Co said has achieved costs savings of 540 mln SEK in transformation program, and to achieve savings target of 700 mln SEK when reductions related to purchasing are fully realized in 2017/18
* CEO Richard Hausmann in report: "I see 2017/18 as the year we once again achieve profitable growth and reach target of an EBITA margin exceeding 20 percent"
* Said has appointed Peter Gaccione as Executive Vice President for Region North America with immediate effect
* Co said has a strong order backlog going into fiscal year 2017/18
* Said proposes a dividend of 1.00 SEK/shr (0.50) vs fcast 0.86 SEK
* Elekta's main rival is U.S. group Varian Medical Systems with other competitors including U.S. Viewray Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: ($1 = 8.7124 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Rebecka Roos; editing by Johannes Hellstrom)