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UPDATE 1-Coloplast beats Q1 forecasts, initiates share buy-back, despite COVID

COPENHAGEN, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Medical device maker Coloplast on Tuesday reported first-quarter earnings above expectations and said it would launch a new share buy-back programme, despite markets hit by COVID-19.

The Danish company makes intimate medical devices, such as catheters and ostomy bags, which often need to be implemented through operations, some of which have been put on hold as COVID-19-hit hospitals focus on more acute operations.

Ostomy care and continence care both saw 6% organic revenue growth, the two being the company’s largest divisions.

Both divisions saw slow growth in new patients in its first quarter, due to anti-COVID-19 measures that delayed some non-acute operations, especially in the UK, one of its largest markets, the company said.

“Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, we deliver a solid set of results in the quarter,” Chief Executive Kristian Villumsen said in a statement. “We continue to deliver organic growth across all geographical regions and business areas.”

The company launched a share buy-back programme worth 500 million Danish crowns ($80.9 million), sending its shares up more than 6%.

The Danish company reported earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 1.54 billion Danish crowns in the three months to December 31, its first quarter, above the 1.48 billion forecast by analysts in a Refinitiv poll. ($1 = 6.1784 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Tim Barsoe; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Chizu Nomiyama)

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