UPDATE 2-Appetite for healthy food lifts Chr Hansen outlook
* Q3 EBIT 51.7 mln euros vs 47.7 mln avg forecast
* Shares touch record high
* Company raises 2011/12 revenue and margin view (Adds details, analyst comment, updates share price)
By Mette Fraende and Teis Jensen
COPENHAGEN, July 4 (Reuters) - Danish food ingredients maker Chr. Hansen on Wednesday upgraded guidance after third-quarter results beat forecasts, nourished by an appetite for healthy food among the growing middle class in emerging markets.
The company's shares were up 10.5 percent at 169.80 crowns by 1256 GMT, against a 0.1 percent dip in the Copenhagen benchmark index, after touching a record high of 172.10 crowns earlier in the day.
"The result was quite a lot better than expected," said Sydbank analyst Morten Imsgaard.
The group, which makes ingredients such as cultures for yoghurts, enzymes for cheese and colours for the food, health and animal feed industries, posted a 19 percent rise in third-quarter EBIT to 51.7 million euros ($65.17 million), beating an average 47.7 million euros estimate in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Third-quarter revenue grew by 6.7 percent year-on-year to 181.2 million euros, also exceeding analysts' average expectation of 177 million.
"It (the improvement) is more or less across the board," Chief Executive Lars Frederiksen told Reuters.
Chr. Hansen raised its full-year 2011/12 organic growth outlook to 9-11 percent from a previous forecast of 8-10 percent, excluding the effect on sales prices of changes in prices of natural red colour carmine, an important raw material.
"Revenue growth continues to be driven by increased demand for healthy food products not least from the growing middle income population in emerging markets," the company said.
A continuing switch from synthetic to natural colours also helped revenue grow, it said.
Including the effect of carmine prices, organic growth was seen at 6-8 percent instead of a previously guided range of 5-7 percent, the company said.
The group also slightly raised its forecast for its full-year margin on earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to between 26.5 percent and 27.0 percent from "above 26 percent." ($1 = 0.7933 euros) (Editing by David Cowell)
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