Rheinmetall 2013 underlying operating profit falls less than expected

FRANKFURT Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:49am EST

FRANKFURT Feb 19 (Reuters) - German defence group Rheinmetall reported a 21 percent drop in 2013 underlying operating profit due to restructuring costs that still beat even the most optimistic analyst estimate in a Reuters poll.

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) before special items fell to 213 million euros ($293 million) from 268 million euros the year before, beating both Rheinmetall's own target of 180-200 million and analysts' forecast of 198 million in a Reuters poll.

($1 = 0.7272 euros) (Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Mark Potter)