Barco profit below expectations as projectors slip

BRUSSELS Fri Feb 7, 2014 1:46am EST

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BRUSSELS Feb 7 (Reuters) - Belgium-based Barco, a maker of high-end digital screens for aircraft and hospitals, posted 2013 profits below expectations, as earnings from its leading cinema projector division fell.

The company reported a 4 percent drop in 2013 core profit (EBITDA) to 153.2 million euros ($208.3 million), lower than the 159 million euro average forecast in a Reuters poll.

The group said that for 2014 it expected sales growth of a low single digit percentage and improved profitability despite a challenging macroeconomic environment.

Barco said it would increase its dividend payable this year to 1.50 euros per share, from the 1.40 euros paid in 2013. Analysts had on average expected a dividend of 1.53 per share.

($1 = 0.7353 euros) (Reporting By Robert-Jan Bartunek)