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Qiagen profit rises as demand for automated testing gear grows

Jan 29 (Reuters) - German genetic testing specialist Qiagen NV reported a 6 percent rise in fourth-quarter earnings, slightly above analysts' average forecast, helped by demand for its automated diagnostics gear and tuberculosis test.

Adjusted net income rose to $87.8 million in the three months through December from $82.8 million a year earlier, the company said on Wednesday.

In a Reuters poll, analysts on average had estimated $87.2 million.

Quarterly sales rose 4.2 percent to $361 million.

Qiagen said it expected 2014 adjusted earnings of $1.07-$1.09 per share, up from $1.02 in 2013, and currency-adjusted sales growth of 4-5 percent.

The German group is banking on IAsymphony, a machine that can purify and test up to 72 samples at a time, to become a must-have tool among academic and commercial lab operators.

More than 1,000 machines, which came to market in 2009, are now being used by labs, which rely on Qiagen's disposable supplies to run them.

The company aims for more than 1,250 of the machines to be in use by the end of 2014 and 1,500 by the end of 2015.

Qiagen said a test that can diagnose tuberculosis before symptoms appear also contributed to growth. The group expects sales from the test to exceed $100 million in 2014.