FRANKFURT, March 9 (Reuters) - German drugs and lab supplies maker Merck KGaA forecast stagnant core earnings for 2017 as strong demand for its biotech lab and production supplies is likely to be offset by competition for its main prescription drugs.
Merck said in a statement on Thursday that adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) "should remain about stable compared with 2016; this encompasses a slightly positive or negative percentage fluctuation around the previous year's level".
Organic sales growth would be slight to moderate, it added.
Merck, which is also the world's largest maker of high-tech chemicals for display screens, said fourth-quarter adjusted EBITDA rose 15 percent to 1.08 billion euros ($1.14 billion), in line with the average estimate by analysts in a Reuters poll.
$1 = 0.9497 euros Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Maria Sheahan