Swiss engineering group Sulzer reported a consensus-beating first half net profit of 131.8 million Swiss franc ($109.51 million), up from 104.3 million in the year-earlier period, citing strength in all regions and segments, and issuing an upbeat outlook.
Looking ahead, Sulzer said that strong gains are expected in its order intake and sales for 2007, and that results are anticipated to be above prior-year levels due to operating improvements and volume leverage.
While the order intake is expected to be strong, growth rates are likely to decline reflecting the prior year's substantial level of new orders, and sales are likely to gradually catch up with orders, the company said.
Analysts had forecast first half net profit to reach 120.0-135.4 million Swiss franc, or 127.1 million on average.
EBIT during the period increased to 188.3 million Swiss franc, up from 129.1 million and against forecasts of 166-189 million Swiss franc, or 176.8 million on average.
Sales rose to 1.654 billion from 1.337 billion, with analysts calling for 1.598-1.702 billion Swiss franc, or 1.643 billion on average. As previously announced, new orders climbed to 2.132 billion Swiss francfrom 1.650 billion, while the group's order backlog amounted to nearly 2 billion Swiss franc.
Sulzer's biggest division, Pumps, reported first half sales of pc768.8 million Swiss franc, a 14.6% increase year-on-year, with Sulzer forecasting the unit's full year order intake, sales and operating income to be "clearly above 2006 results".
At Sulzer Metco, sales during the period rose 23.1% to 368 million, but Sulzer cautioned that it does not expect the units to continue to develop at the same pace.
Sulzer Chemtech reported sales of 376.7 million Swiss franc, up 56%, boosted by a number of acquisitions, while Sulzer Turbo Services improved sales by 10% to 134.4 million, driven by strong growth in Europe and North America.
Late yesterday, Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg's Renova Group said it has taken full control of the 31.4% stake in Swiss technology group Sulzer it previously held jointly with Austrian Victory Industriebeteiligungs Gesellschaft via holding Everest Beteiligungs GmbH.
The two parties did not disclose how much Renova paid for the acquisition of investment vehicle Everest.