April 28, 2020 / 6:39 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Sweden's Elekta cuts full-year growth forecast as pandemic weighs

* Sees 1% constant currency sales growth in fiscal 2019/20

* Previous forecast was for growth of 8-10%

* Sees lower EBITA margin than earlier forecast

* Says cost and productivity actions to cushion margin impact

* Fiscal 2019/20 ends with April (Adds background, detail)

STOCKHOLM, April 28 (Reuters) - Swedish radiation therapy equipment maker Elekta on Tuesday slashed its sales growth and margin forecasts for the fiscal year ending in this month as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic weighed.

The company, which rivals U.S group Varian Medical Systems , said it now forecast constant currency sales growth of around 1% for the year, compared to its previous forecast of 8-10% growth, given in February.

Elekta also forecast an operating margin (EBITA) of 16-17%, down from the 18% previously seen.

"Order intake and sales have been negatively affected during the quarter with an increasing effect in April due to limited access to hospitals and delayed starts of installations as a consequence of lock down of countries," Elekta said in a statement.

Elekta added it had not had any orders cancelled in the quarter. During the first nine months of the current fiscal year, Elekta's constant currency sales grew 7% and the EBITA margin was 15.4%.

The company said profitability would be helped by cost and productivity measures but it also withdrew its mid-term expectations for the fiscal years 2020/21-2022/23.

"An updated outlook will be published when we can further quantify the impact of COVID-19 on the radiation therapy market and the effect on our business," it said. (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard)

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