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Celesio sees fading price war helping operating profit

FRANKFURT, May 12 (Reuters) - German drug distributor Celesio AG on Monday said an expected waning of intense price competition in the German wholesale market should help underpin its underlying operating profit this year.

Celesio, which was recently taken over by U.S. peer McKesson , said in a statement it expected its 2014 adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to come in slightly above the prior-year level.

"From the second half of the year, the management board assumes that the unremittingly intensive discount competition in Germany will diminish in the course of the year," it said.

Celesio says group revenues rose by 0.3 percent to 5.38 billion euros ($7.40 billion) in the first quarter, while adjusted EBIT edged up to 95.6 million euros from 95.1 million in the year-earlier quarter.

($1 = 0.7269 Euros) (Reporting by Jonathan Gould; Editing by Maria Sheahan)