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UPDATE 1-Lundbeck raises earnings guidance for the fourth time in 12 months

(Adds CEO comments, analyst, share, detail)

May 10 Danish drugmaker Lundbeck raised its financial guidance for the fourth time in 12 months as sales of its anti-epileptic drug Sabril was not dented by copycat competition, as Lundbeck had expected, its chief executive said on Wedneday.

* 2017 revenue guidance was raised to between 16.5 billion and 17.3 billion Danish crowns ($2.42-$2.53 billion) from and earlier guidance of between 16.3 billion and 17.1 billion crowns

* Profit from operations is now expected to be between 3.6 billion and 4.0 billion crowns in 2017 up from an earlier guidance of between 3.4 billion and 3.8 billion

* "Primarily sales have been a little better because we haven't experienced any generic competition on Sabril yet... and also because our costs are a bit lower than expected," chief executive Kaare Schultz told Reuters in a telephone interview

* Lundbeck has raised its financial guidance in every quarter since Schultz joined the company from Danish peer Novo Nordisk in May 2016

* Lundbeck saw an increase in its net cash position of 3 billion crowns. Schultz said the money would be used to pay off company debt and for new potential acquisitions of early stage research and development projects

* "It's typically smaller deals because our strategy is to be organically involved in developing the drugs from the early research results and the whole way through," he said

* Schultz said he did not expect the EBIT margin to exceed 24 percent in 2017 but that he maintains his expectations of a 25 percent EBIT margin in 2018

* "All in all, our first take is that this is a slight beat, flattered on EPS by a lower than forecast tax rate. The guidance change is as expected," analysts from Deutsche Bank said in a note

* First-quarter revenue rose to 4.21 billion crowns from 3.77 billion in the same quarter last year, just missing the 4.22 billion expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.

* Lundbeck shares are up 2.7 percent at 0910 GMT, placing it amongst the top-ten performers in the Stoxx Europe 600 index . Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: ($1 = 6.8309 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Julie Astrid Thomsen and Gdynia Newsroom, editing by Teis Jensen and Terje Solsvik)

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