Geberit shares hit all-time high after profit jump
* Q3 net profit 127.5 mln Sfr vs 113 mln forecast in poll
* Sales rise 9 pct to 593 mln Sfr, beating estimates
* Shares jump to all-time high
ZURICH, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Shares in Geberit surged to an all-time high on Thursday after the sanitary equipment maker reported stronger than expected third quarter results and some of its biggest European markets showed signs of recovery.
The Swiss company said net profit shot up 27.5 percent to 127.5 million Swiss francs ($142 million), on the back of a 9 percent increase in sales to 593 million francs. This beat the average forecasts in a Reuters poll.
Shares in Geberit were trading up 4.3 percent at 263.6 by 0846 GMT, outperforming a flat Swiss blue-chip sector index . Earlier, the stock hit an all-time high of 265.8 Swiss francs.
The Swiss maker of toilet flushing and piping systems, which competes with Germany's Grohe, makes the majority of its sales in Europe, where some markets showed signs of a recovery in the third quarter.
In Geberit's most important market, Germany, sales were up 6.8 percent in the first nine months. Britain, the Nordics and Switzerland also performed well, helping to offset declines in Italy, Iberia, Benelux and Austria, where government austerity measures have hit construction projects.
Analysts at Vontobel were impressed by Geberit's strong profitability with an earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin of 28.7 percent, helped by lower personnel and other operating expenses.
Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Oliver Girakhou said the like-for-like growth in Germany, France, Britain and the Nordics was "stunning." But he also said the outlook for the construction industry would remain challenging in the fourth quarter.
Geberit confirmed its outlook for currency-adjusted sales growth of around 3 percent, and said it expects an EBITDA margin of around 25 percent.
The stock trades at 21.3 times forward earnings, at a premium to construction sector peers. ($1 = 0.8965 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Caroline Copley. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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