UPDATE 1-Austrian SBO's orders fall, shares drop

Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:38am EDT

Related Topics

* Q4 orders fall 30 pct to 85 mln eur

* Dividend raised 25 pct to 1.50 eur/shr

* Shares fall 3.5 pct (Releads on orders, adds shares, analyst comment)

VIENNA, March 20 (Reuters) - Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Equipment AG reported a 30 percent drop in fourth-quarter orders as customers repaired tools instead of buying new, sending its shares lower.

The Austrian company posted orders of 85 million euros ($110 million) for the quarter to end-December, much lower than analysts had expected, and also disappointed the market on Wednesday with a smaller-than-hoped-for dividend hike.

Schoeller-Bleckmann (SBO) shares fell 3.5 percent by 1230 GMT, underperforming a 0.7 percent rise in the Austrian benchmark ATX index.

"In sum, Q4 numbers in line with prelims but dividends slightly disappointing and most importantly, newly reported Q4 orders very weak," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a note.

SBO Chief Executive Gerald Grohmann told a news conference he expected demand to improve from the second quarter, or the third quarter at the latest.

He said the high-precision equipment maker would benefit from the increasing complexity of extracting oil and gas from newly discovered fields, including ultra-deepwater wells and shale gas and oil.

The Austrian group had in January posted preliminary figures showing record 2012 sales and profit.

On Wednesday, it said it would raise its dividend by a quarter to 1.50 euros per share. ($1 = 0.7760 euros) (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan and Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich; Editing by Mark Potter and Michael Shields)

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