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Coloplast expects continued high growth in the U.S

By Stine Jacobsen

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish healthcare products maker Coloplast aims for another year of double-digit organic growth in the United States, its chief financial officer told Reuters on Friday.

The company, which makes products ranging from ostomy and urine bags to wound dressings, is the leading supplier in many European markets but still relatively small in the U.S.

For ostomy products, the company's biggest business, its share of the American market is less than 10 percent.

"I can say that we last year had good double-digit growth in the U.S., and we should like to see it again this year," chief financial officer Lene Skole said.

Pressure on European healthcare budgets is hurting the company's business, with the French unit expected to lose 40-50 million Danish crowns ($7.3-$9.2 million) in the 2013-2014 fiscal year that began last month, Skole said.

Coloplast has few direct competitors, but its peer group of comparable companies includes global medical technology business Smith & Nephew.

"In Europe we are the market leader. It is the same competitors we meet in the U.S., so whyever should we not have the chance to achieve a good position in the U.S," Skole asked.

Investments in emerging markets, and in developed countries outside of its core European business, is the second step in a strategy the company launched in 2008.

The first step, to improve the operating profit margin, was completed by boosting it to 32 percent in 2012-2013 from 12 percent in 2007-2008.

"Our result for 2012-13 reflects that we are able to both invest in and increase growth...Generally seen, it is working out, exactly as we want it to," Skole said.

With a price to book ratio of 10.6, Coloplast is among the three most highly valued stocks in the Thomson Reuters Europe Medical Equipment Index.

It has the highest return on equity in the index at 40.05 percent, Reuters data show.($1 = 5.4625 Danish crowns)

(Editing by Terje Solsvik and Teis Jensen)

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