France's Schneider Electric sees 2019 growth slowing less than expected

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French electrical equipment producer Schneider Electric expects its earnings growth to ease this year, but at a pace slower than the market expects.

The company said on Thursday it sees the 2019 revenue to grow between 3 and 5 percent organically with an expansion in adjusted earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA) margin of 20-50 basis points, leading to an adjusted EBITA organic increase of 4 to 7 percent.

The analysts polled by Schneider had expected current year’s organic growth to be 2 percent with a flat adjusted EBITA margin year-on-year.

The OEM demand in China is expected to soften this year, the group said, adding that the country remains, nevertheless, a growth market in aggregate with “dynamic” end-markets including construction, infrastructure and parts of industry. It also expects Western Europe to grow at a “moderate” pace, while the growth in the rest of the world, which also excludes North America and Asia-Pacific regions, will be contrasted based on country.

“While the increased level of inflation and tariffs will weigh on productivity in 2019, the group continues to expect a strong level of gross industrial productivity,” the company added.

The revenue for 2018 grew 6.6 percent organically, ahead of the company-compiled consensus of 6.3 percent, to 25.72 billion euros ($29.01 billion). Its adjusted EBITA came in at 3.87 billion euros, as expected, while the net income was a slight miss at 2.33 billion euros, mainly due to M&A and integration costs.

The group, however, upped its dividend for the year by 7 percent to 2.35 euros per share.

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