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Elekta repeats margin target as Q1 core profit lags expectations

(Adds detail, background)

Aug 23 (Reuters) - Radiotherapy gear maker Elekta posted on Wednesday lower quarterly core earnings than expected, but orders matched forecasts and the firm repeated a full-year margin target.

* Fiscal Q1 (May-July) EBITA excl. one-offs and bad debt losses +13 pct yr/yr to 187 mln SEK ($23.1 mln) vs Reuters poll fcast of 244 mln

* Adjusted EBITA margin unchanged yr/yr at 9 pct. Elekta's f/y target is for a margin wider than 20 pct

* Elekta shares are up 1.3 pct at 0711 GMT, taking a YTD increase to 1.7 pct vs. a 1.9 pct rise YTD for the STOXX Europe 600 Health Care Index

* Says investments in the launch of its new product Elekta Unity and a software development program squeezed margins

* Swedish Elekta, which has restructured as it has seen operating profit fall for three straight years, said Q1 reported gross order intake was up 3 pct to 2.74 bln SEK. Based on constant currency rates, order intake was unchanged

* Reported order intake in North and South America, Elekta's biggest region by sales, shrank 2 pct

* CEO Richard Hausmann: "I am looking forward to the rest of this fiscal year and our targets are clear. We will return to profitable growth and with continuous process improvements and cost savings we reiterate our target of an EBITA margin exceeding 20 percent"

* Hausmann's previous guidance, given in Q4 report, was "I see 2017/18 as the year we once again achieve profitable growth and reach target of an EBITA margin exceeding 20 percent"

* Says on Elekta Unity: "We are advancing towards CE-mark and 510k filing that are planned before end of this calendar year and we reiterate our ambition to generate 75 orders until year end 2019"

* Elekta's main rival is U.S. group Varian Medical Systems with other competitors including U.S. Viewray

* Elekta in June said, as it reported a big Q4 earnings miss, that it had a strong order backlog going into fiscal year 2017/18 ($1 = 8.1013 Swedish crowns) Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: (Reporting By Anna Ringstrom)