UPDATE 1-NKT scraps long-term targets as earnings stall

Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:35am EST

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* Q4 EBITDA 320 mln DKK vs 275 mln avg forecast

* Q4 revenue 4.00 bln, in line with expectations

* Scraps long term targets, cuts return on capital view (Adds details, comments, adds share price)

COPENHAGEN, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Danish industrial group NKT Holding scrapped its long-term targets on Wednesday and said earnings would not grow this year due to sluggish sales and tougher competition.

The cable manufacturer has been hurt by the downturn in Europe and weak equipment sales to China, where the government last year froze the construction of a high-speed railway.

The group, which also makes professional cleaning equipment, said it would no longer provide revenue and earnings targets for 2015, and lowered its target for return on capital employed.

"In the main markets in Europe there is not much hope for growth," Chief Executive Thomas Hofman-Bang told Reuters after its full-year result.

In the fourth quarter, operational earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to 320 million Danish crowns ($56.10 million) in the quarter, primarily driven by cost cuts in its Nilfisk-Advance unit.

The fourth quarter earnings exceeded analysts' average expectations for 275 million in a Reuters poll, sending its shares up 5.6 percent at 0853 GMT after an initial small rise. . The Copenhagen stock exchange's benchmark index fell in contrast 0.2 percent.

"The fourth quarter surprises positively," said Alm Brand analyst Jesper Christensen. "Guidance for 2013 is terribly weak and much weaker than I had expected," Christensen said.

($1 = 5.7038 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Mette Fraende; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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