Swedish Scania's Third-Quarter Profit Rises 37%

Swedish truckmaker Scania said Monday that its third-quarter profit rose by 37 percent, citing larger sales volumes and price increases.

The company earned 1.75 billion kronor ($275 million) for the three months ended Sept. 30 from 1.28 billion kronor a year earlier.

The result narrowly beat expectations for a profit of 1.74 billion kronor by analysts polled by SME Direkt.

Third-quarter sales came to 19.91 billion kronor ($3.12 billion), up 21 percent from 16.51 billion kronor a year ago.

However, the operating margin of 12.8 percent came in slightly below expectations.

Scania shares were flat at 166.50 kronor ($26.13) in trading in Stockholm.

Outlook Unchanged

Scania reiterated its outlook, saying it expects its sales to increase by an average of 10 percent between 2007 and 2009.

"The demand for vehicles and services is high in most markets where Scania operates," Chief Executive Leif Ostling said, adding that he expects demand for heavy trucks to remain strong.

"So far there are no signs that the recent credit market turmoil has affected our customers' businesses," he said.

Scania's order bookings increased to 18.3 billion kronor ($2.87 billion) from 13.5 billion kronor in the third quarter of 2006.

Swedbank analyst Anders Bruzelius said the overall result was slightly better than forecast.

"Sales were better than the market had expected while the margins were a bit on the weak side," he said, adding the order intake was in line with estimates.

Earlier this year, German rival MAN failed in its hostile $14 billion takeover offer for Sodertalje-based Scania after Volkswagen -- a big owner in both companies -- objected to the move, preferring to pursue a friendly linkup.