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Healthcare

UPDATE 1-Australia's CSL warns profit could fall

* H1N1 vaccine production at maximum capacity

* Shrugs off any plasma oversupply

* Shares up 1.6 percent (Adds CEO comments)

MELBOURNE, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Australian blood products and vaccines maker CSL Ltd CSL.AX warned on Wednesday its full year profit could fall as much as 16 percent if the U.S. dollar remains weak, but shrugged off signs of weaker plasma product prices.

The company also said was producing as much H1N1 flu vaccine as it could.

“We actually aren’t looking for new orders, to be frank,” Chief Executive Brian McNamee said on Wednesday after the group’s annual meeting.

“We’re pretty maxed out with capacity.”

The company has flagged it expects H1N1 vaccine sales, including $180 million in sales to the U.S. government, to be a big contributor to its growth this year, based on last year’s prevailing currency rates.

CSL shares rose 1.6 percent to A$32.21, beating gains in the broader market. The shares have underperformed the market sharply so far this year as investors shifted into cyclical stocks.

Based on Oct. 9 currency rates, CSL expects full year profit to fall to between A$970 million ($880 million) and A$1.07 billion, from A$1.15 billion last year. First-quarter trading was in line with its expectations.

Analysts on average were projecting a slight fall in net profit to A$1.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Based on last year's currency rates, the company, which competes against Baxter Inc BAX.N and Grifols GRLS.MC, maintained its full year profit forecast for growth of up to 10 percent.

McNamee was sanguine about any slight fall in plasma product prices due to growing supply, saying smaller companies which have a higher cost structure and produce fewer products would find it hard to grow, while CSL was still expanding.

“We don’t see the prices going up, certainly. Could the prices soften a dollar or two? Sure, but that’s immaterial to us,” he said. (Reporting by Sonali Paul)

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