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Rieter First-Half Beats Forecasts; Confident for Full Year

Rieter Holding said its first-half net profit rose 42% to 116.7 million Swiss francs ($96 million), beating analyst forecasts, with the company citing a favorable investment climate in the Asian textile industry and market share gains in the automobile industry in Western Europe and North America.

Analysts had forecast net profit to reach 77-107 million Swiss francs, or 94 million Swiss francs on average.

Looking ahead, Rieter said it expects the good investment climate in the textile industry to continue in the second half, and a further increase in worldwide automobile production mainly outside Western Europe and North America.

Consequently, the maker of textile machinery and automotive industry supplies forecasts higher profits and sales.

In parallel, Rieter announced a share buyback program of up to 150 million Swiss francs ($123.6 million) and said it plans to cancel the repurchased shares and reduce its share capital accordingly at the 2009 AGM.

The company said, however, that its strategy remains unchanged and the buyback will not significantly influence its funding flexibility.

EBIT during the first half rose 16% to 135.8 million Swiss francs ($111.9 million), in line with forecasts of 109-145 million Swiss francs, or 131 million on average.

Sales increased 14% to 2.298 billion Swiss francs ($1.893 billion), substantially above the forecast range of 1.808-1.910 billion Swiss francs, or 1.865 billion on average.

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