Geberit names new CEO as Q4 profit meets forecast

Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:40am EDT

* Christian Buhl to take over as CEO on Jan. 1, 2015

* Q4 net profit 75.1 mln Sfr vs 63.9 mln a year ago

* Proposes dividend of 7.50 Sfr per share, up 13.6 pct

ZURICH, March 11 (Reuters) - Swiss sanitary equipment maker Geberit named Christian Buhl as its new chief executive on Tuesday as it published fourth-quarter net profit that met expectations.

Buhl, a Swiss citizen, is currently responsible for Geberit's market in Germany, the company's most important sales unit accounting for 37 percent of revenue.

He will take up his new role on Jan. 1, 2015 when current CEO Albert Baehny steps down to concentrate on his role as chairman.

The maker of toilet flushing systems said net profit rose 17.5 percent in the fourth quarter to 75 million Swiss francs ($85 million), in line with the average forecast for 73 million in a Reuters poll.

In January, Geberit said sales rose 4.8 percent to 525 million francs, with growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa helping to offset a drop in sales in America and the Far East.

The Swiss company expects the outlook for the construction industry to remain challenging, with volumes forecast to fall in Europe, while uncertainty in North America should also weigh on Geberit's business.

It is more positive about the outlook for China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East and South Africa.

Geberit proposed a dividend of 7.50 Swiss francs per share, an increase of 13.6 percent over the previous year.

($1 = 0.8781 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Mark Potter)