UPDATE 1-Wind turbine maker Nordex raises forecasts after strong first quarter
* Q1 sales 424.5 mln euros vs 363 mln forecast by analysts
* Q1 EBIT 21.1 mln euros vs 13.2 mln forecast in poll
* Expects 2014 sales of 1.5-1.6 bln euros, EBIT margin of 4-5 pct
* Shares up over 6 percent in early trading (Adds details on results, background on sector)
FRANKFURT, May 14 (Reuters) - German wind turbine maker Nordex raised its sales forecast for the year, as strong demand for its products in Europe and the United States produced better than expected results in the first quarter.
Nordex earlier this year posted its first annual net profit in three years, as cost cutting and new products helped it more than double its share of its core European market at the expense of rivals.
Nordex said on Wednesday it now expects sales of 1.5-1.6 billion euros ($2.06-2.19 billion) this year and an operating profit margin of 4 to 5 percent. It had previously forecast full-year sales of 1.4-1.5 billion and a margin of 3.5-4.5 percent.
The company, part-owned by Germany's richest woman Susanne Klatten, has outperformed rivals in recent months, boosted by sales of its N117/2400 wind turbine, mainly in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, which accounted for 71 percent of first-quarter sales.
After years of overcapacity and falling wind turbine prices, the global market has stabilised, with solid demand for the technology, the cheapest of all renewable energy sources.
Danish peer Vestas earlier this month made an unexpected return to profit in the first quarter, with a big rise in orders.
Nordex's first-quarter sales were up 64 percent at 424.5 million euros, producing earnings before interest and tax of 21.1 million euros compared with a loss of 0.7 million in the same period last year.
Analysts had expected a profit of 13.2 million euros on sales of 363 million according to a Reuters poll.
Nordex's shares were trading up 6.7 percent at 13.715 euros in early trading. ($1=0.7296 euros) (Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Harro ten Wolde and Greg Mahlich)