UPDATE 1-Metso reports weak orders, profit in line

Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:56am EDT

(Adds job cuts, share price)

HELSINKI Oct 25 (Reuters) - Finnish industrial machine maker Metso reported a bigger-than-expected drop in orders in the third quarter as a weak economy discouraged customers from investing in large projects.

Orders for the quarter fell 21 percent to 1.51 billion euros ($2 billion), although underlying profit before interest, tax and amortisation rose in line with market forecasts to 171 million euros.

Analysts on average had expected orders worth 1.63 billion euros.

Chief Executive Matti Kahkonen said the company did not receive any orders for large projects.

Metso makes paper machines as well as crushers and grinding machines for mining and construction companies. Last month, it said it was cutting up to 630 jobs in its paper and pulp business in Finland as a weakening economy dented demand for paper machines.

Metso shares fell 2.7 percent to 26.89 euros, extending their fall of over 6 percent in the past month.

While Metso is valued at below 10 times forward earnings compared with some peers' multiples above 15, investors have been wary of the stock, partly due to the company's recent cancellation of an extra dividend.

Metso proposed an extra dividend in September, but its announcement of job cuts a few days later prompted an uproar, forcing it to scrap plans for the extra payment. ($1 = 0.7711 euro) (Reporting by Helsinki Newsroom; Editing by Jane Baird)

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