FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Merck KGaA on Wednesday reported better-than-expected adjusted earnings, helped by strong demand for its pharmaceuticals and amid currency-adjusted sales growth in semiconductor materials.

The German diversified group reported 8.4% lower first-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), adjusted for one-offs, at 1.45 billion euros ($1.57 billion).

That beat the average analyst estimate of 1.36 billion euros posted on the company's website.

In a statement, the German group said 2024 adjusted EBITDA would be in a range of 5.7 billion to 6.3 billion euros.

It said that was in line with a previous forecast for "slight-to-moderate" currency-adjusted growth.

($1 = 0.9243 euros)

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger, Editing by Rachel More)