UPDATE 1-Food ingredients firm Chr Hansen misses forecasts

Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:10am EST

* Q1 sales 171 bln euros vs 186 bln seen in Reuters forecast

* Q1 operating profit 43.2 mln euros vs 48.2 mln forecast

* Full-year outlook unchanged

* Shares fall over 5 percent (Adds quotes from CFO, analyst, details)

COPENHAGEN, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Danish food ingredients maker Chr. Hansen had a weaker than expected first quarter of its 2013/14 financial year due to the timing of orders, the loss of a customer in the previous quarter and subdued demand in its health and nutrition unit.

Shares in the company fell over 5 percent in early Wednesday trading, even though it kept its full-year financial guidance and said it would buy up to 80 million euros ($110 million) worth of its own shares by the end of August.

"We now see the full impact of the loss of a customer in the colour division, which will also drag our results down in the coming quarters," chief financial officer Klaus Pedersen told Reuters.

Pedersen said the business area covering dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals, infant formula and animal feed had not seen any growth in the quarter.

"But I am quite comfortable we will see better growth rates in Health & Nutrition in the coming quarters," he added.

"We are well into the second quarter now, and that's why I have a good feeling about this going forward".

The group still sees full-year organic revenue growth of between 7 and 9 percent, and an EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) margin before special items above 26 percent.

Sydbank analyst Morten Imsgard said he had expected a slow quarter, but the figures were weaker than he had forecast.

"I was surprised that the share buy-back was announced now, since they paid an extraordinary dividend in November last year," Imsgard said. "It emphasises how solidly a company Chr. Hansen is when it comes to cashflow".

EBIT before special items fell to 43.2 million euros ($59.1 million) in the three months ended November from 47.6 million the same time the year before and below a forecast for 48.2 million in a Reuters poll.

The company said it would establish a so-called American Depositary Receipt (ADR) programme in the United States, so it can be traded in the country's over-the-counter market.

($1 = 0.7306 euros) (Reporting by Teis Jensen, additional reporting by Shida Chayesteh and Stine Jacobsen,; Editing by Mark Potter)

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