* 1st-qtr adjusted EPS $0.76 vs est $0.65
* 1st-qtr sales $1.34 bln vs est $1.33 bln
* Sees 2nd-qtr sales rising by 14 to 18 pct
* Shares down 9 pct after market (Adds details from conference call, rivals, background)
Feb 6 (Reuters) - Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc forecast current-quarter sales below Wall Street expectations and said growth would slow in its coffee and espresso maker business, sending its shares down as much as 10 percent in after-market trade.
The maker of the Keurig single-cup coffee brewer and the K-Cups that go with it, said it expected sales to grow by 14 percent to 18 percent in its fiscal second quarter.
The company said on a conference call with analysts that it is carrying additional inventory in the second quarter due to a softer-than-expected holiday season, which will result in a slight decline in brewer shipments in the quarter.
According to a Reuters calculation, this would result in second-quarter sales within a range of $1.01 billion to $1.04 billion, which would miss analyst expectations of $1.06 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Waterbury, Vermont-based Green Mountain lost some ground to lower-cost rivals in 2012 after some Keurig patents expired. Founder and Chairman Robert Stiller was also demoted after a margin call forced him to sell stock when it was prohibited.
Green Mountain has been trying to stave off competition as companies with more financial muscle like Starbucks Corp , Nestle SA and Wal-Mart Stores Inc seek a bigger part of the single-serve coffee market.
The company recently launched the Rivo espresso machine to rival the Verismo machine by Starbucks, and a higher-end Vue machine by Keurig.
Green Mountain has also been under sustained attack from short sellers, especially hedge fund manager David Einhorn, who had been negative on Green Mountain’s sales figures, growth projects and accounting practices last year.
The company said first-quarter profit rose to $107.6 million, or 70 cents per share, from $104.4 million, or 66 cents per share, a year earlier.
On an adjusted basis, the company earned 76 cents per share.
Sales rose 15.6 percent to $1.34 billion in the key holiday shopping period.
Analysts on average had expected the company to earn 65 cents, on revenue of $1.33 billion in the first quarter.
Shares of Green Mountain, which have more than a quarter of their value in the past year, were down 9 percent at $44.95 after closing at $48.94 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.
The company’s second fiscal quarter ended on March 24 last year. (Reporting by Martinne Geller in New York, Arpita Mukherjee and Chris Peters in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel and Andrew Hay)