UPDATE 1-Belgium's IBA keeps guidance in spite of slow start to 2014

Wed May 14, 2014 8:13am EDT

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(Adds details on outlook)

BRUSSELS May 14 (Reuters) - Belgian cancer diagnosis and therapy company Ion Beam Applications maintained its revenue outlook for 2014 on Wednesday even though sales in the first three months came in below target.

The group, which equips proton therapy centres which offer a more targeted treatment of tumours compared to traditional radiotherapy, reported a 4 percent rise in sales in the first quarter to 46.3 million euros.

This compared with its annual target of a 5 to 10 percent rise.

IBA said this was because it did not ship any proton therapy systems to its customers during the quarter, which is when it recognises most of the revenue.

"But we already shipped two systems in April and May that will certainly have an impact on our revenue growth," Chief Executive Olivier Legrain said.

However, the company said its backlog of booked orders was valued at 187 million euros at the end of the first quarter, which is why the group maintained its revenue and profitability guidance given in March.

Apart from the revenue growth target of 5 to 10 percent, IBA also expects to reach a 10 percent operating margin for 2014.

IBA said that because of several tenders this year to build proton therapy centres in Belgium, Britain, the Netherlands, the United States and Singapore it should continue to grow in the medium term.

"We won't win every tender, but only based on that we have a great level of confidence for the medium term because everything we are selling this year will help from 2015 on," Legrain added. (Reporting Anna Nicolaou, additional reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek)

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