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Bayer pharma growth tempered by weak agriculture, consumer units

FRANKFURT, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Germany's Bayer, which is buying U.S. seeds company Monsanto, posted a 4 percent gain in quarterly underlying core earnings on growth in pharmaceutical sales but held back by weak consumer healthcare and crop chemicals businesses.

Bayer's adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the third quarter came in at 2.20 billion euros ($2.60 billion), slightly higher than the average forecast by analysts of 2.12 billion euros, helped by continued growth in prescriptions for anti-clotting drug Xarelto.

Bayer said it continues to expect 2017 EBITDA before special items to come in slightly above last year's level.

($1 = 0.8453 euros) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Maria Sheahan)