* Q1 adj EBITDA up 0.7 pct at 807 mln eur, just above poll
* Sees slight increase in 2014 adj EBITDA thanks to takeover
* Raised prospect of more deals to boost growth
(Adds details on growth, drugs division, forex effects)
By Ludwig Burger
FRANKFURT, May 15 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 lower costs outweighed the impact of weak
foreign exchange rates and sluggish growth in drugs sales.
First-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation,
amortisation and one-off items rose to 807 million euros ($1.11
billion), it said on Thursday, just above the 805 million euros
consensus from analysts in a Reuters poll.
The results highlight the need for Merck to find new sources
of growth. The family-controlled German group has said it was
ready for "ambitious" takeover moves, promarily aimed at
boosting a pharmaceuticals division suffering from a weak
development pipeline and meagre growth prospects for its
Merck's No.1 drug Rebif, an injectible multiple sclerosis
treatment, is gradually being replaced by new orally
administered drugs such as Biogen Idec Inc's Tecfidera.
Merck's Erbitux cancer drug, meanwhile, is close to reaching its
peak sales potential.
Quarterly sales slipped 2 percent, with a weak U.S. dollar
and Japanese yen crimping the euro value of overseas revenues.
Without currency effects, sales would have gained 4 percent.
Merck said it expected adjusted EBITDA of 3.3-3.4 billion
euros this year, up from 3.25 billion euros last year, including
its recent acquisition of Britain's AZ Electronic Materials for
($1 = 0.7294 Euros)
(Editing by David Goodman)