* Q1 net profit rises 44% to 437 mln euros
* Free cash flow more than doubles to 668 mln euros (Adds details, background)
BERLIN, Feb 1 (Reuters) - German health technology company Siemens Healthineers said on Monday its first-quarter free cash flow more than doubled, boosted by stronger demand for its rapid antigen tests due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The company, which pre-released its core earnings results last week, said free cash flow more than doubled to 668 million euros ($810.28 million) for the three months ended Dec. 31. from 244 million a year earlier.
Net profit jumped 44% to 437 million euros, compared with 304 million euros a year earlier.
Medical technology companies were hit in the early stages of the pandemic, as patients avoided check-ups for conditions not related to the virus while hospitals put off big-ticket purchases.
Both Siemens Healthineers and Dutch rival Philips have flagged a stronger first half of 2021 as hospitals place delayed orders and demand for equipment to treat COVID-19 patients continues.
Last week, Siemens Healthineers raised its outlook for 2021 sales and earnings per share last week, citing stronger demand for its antigen tests.
It now expects full-year revenue from it rapid COVID-19 antigen test to be between 300 million euros and 350 million euros, versus the previous assumption of about 100 million euros. ($1 = 0.8244 euros) (Reporting by Caroline Copley; editing by Thomas Seythal and Rashmi Aich)