UPDATE 2-Bilfinger sees profits up as shift to services pays off
* Sees 2013 profits up when adjusted for asset sales
* To propose 3 euros per share dividend for 2012
* 2012 EBITA 466 mln euros vs forecast 460 mln
* Shares up 2.6 pct, outperform market (Adds comment by analyst, updates share price)
By Peter Dinkloh
FRANKFURT, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Germany's Bilfinger predicted a rise in underlying earnings this year, and lifted its dividend for 2012, as its shift away from volatile construction markets towards more stable building services activities pays off.
The firm, which maintains, modernises and operates buildings, industrial plants and power stations, is benefiting from booming oil and gas industries as well as a trend in less robustly performing sectors to outsource in a bid to save money.
"The company is delivering on its promises and its prospects are good," said DZ Bank analyst Marc Nettelbeck, who recommends buying Bilfinger's shares.
Bilfinger, whose customers include German chemicals firm BASF and oil major Royal Dutch Shell, said on Monday it made earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) of 466 million euros ($624 million) last year.
That was in the upper half of its guidance range of 450-470 million euros and above the average forecast of 460 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Bilfinger predicted EBITA, adjusted for asset sales, would rise from a comparable figure of 421 million euros in 2012, but did not say by how much. Analysts are currently expecting an underlying EBITA of 428 million euros for this year.
The company also proposed a dividend of 3.00 euros per share for 2012, just above the 2.94 euros expected by analysts. It paid a dividend of 2.50 euros per share in 2011 and made an additional payment of 90 cents per share for the sale of its Australian business.
At 0953 GMT, Bilfinger shares were up 2.6 percent at 75.90 euros, outperforming a 0.1 decline in the German MDAX index of medium-sized companies.
The firm, which traces its roots to a bridge builder founded in 1883, said it saw particularly strong demand from utilities outside Germany, with the EBITA margin at its power services unit rising to 9.3 percent last year from 8.3 percent in 2011.
"That EBITA margin is fantastic," said DZ Bank's Nettelbeck.
Bilfinger chief executive Roland Koch told Reuters in January the company was benefiting from environment regulations across the energy industry.
The company said on Monday its construction business would shrink further in 2013 from revenues including those of minority stakeholders - also called output - of 1.4 billion euros in 2012.
Koch will hold a conference call at 1100 GMT.
($1 = 0.7474 euros) (Editing by Mark Potter)
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