Merck KGaA Q1 profit gains on cost cuts

FRANKFURT Thu May 15, 2014 1:29am EDT

FRANKFURT May 15 (Reuters) - Germany's Merck KGaA , the world's largest maker of liquid crystals for display screens, said quarterly underlying core earnings edged 0.7 percent higher as the benefits of a cost cutting initiative outweighed the impact of weaker foreign currency exchange rates.

First-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortisation and one-off items rose to 807 million euros ($1.11 billion), just above the 805 million euros expected on average by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Merck said on Thursday it expected adjusted EBITDA of 3.3-3.4 billion euros this year, up from 3.25 billion last year, including its recent acquisition of Britain's AZ Electronic Materials for $2.6 billion.

($1 = 0.7294 Euros) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger)