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COPENHAGEN, May 1 (Reuters) - Denmark's Novo Nordisk , the world's biggest insulin producer, reported higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Thursday and lowered its 2014 sales guidance, but kept its outlook for 2014 operating profit growth unchanged.
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose to 8.03 billion Danish crowns ($1.49 billion) in the first quarter from 7.56 billion crowns a year ago, slightly above a forecast for 7.87 billion Danish crowns in a Reuters poll.
"We are pleased to reiterate our expectations to operating profit growth for 2014 despite a challenging start of the year and a lower outlook for sales growth," chief executive Lars Rebien Sorensen said in the report.
The company lowered its guidance for sales growth from January to 7-10 percent but kept operating profit growth guidance unchanged at around 10 percent in local currencies.
$1 = 5.3946 Danish Crowns Reporting by Shida Chayesteh; Editing by Richard Pullin