UPDATE 1-OCI hit by poor Mid East conditions but sees better 2014

Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:44am EDT

(Adds context, details, CEO quote)

AMSTERDAM, April 29 (Reuters) - Dutch-listed construction and chemicals company OCI NV missed earnings forecasts for 2013 partly because of difficult conditions in its core Middle Eastern markets, but said it expected 2014 to be better as it and other regions improve.

In its annual report, the company said earnings in its fertilisers business had been hit by irregularities in gas supply in Egypt and difficulties obtaining export licences in Algeria. A deteriorating economic environment in Egypt had also weighed on revenues in its construction business.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 7.6 percent to $812.2 million, missing an analyst consensus forecast of $896 million compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenues rose 16 percent to $6,131.8 million, exceeding a consensus forecast of $5.90 billion.

"We expect operating conditions to normalize for our fertilizer & chemicals Group during 2014," said Chief Executive Officer Nassef Sawiris in a statement, adding that the operating environment in the Middle East, North Africa and the United States was improving.

A company spokesman said OCI was adding capacity in its higher margin fertilisers and chemicals business, and diversifying away from the Middle East, with a fertiliser plant in Iowa due to come on line in 2015 and a 1.75 million ton methanol project in the US due in 2016.

The company, which moved its primary listing from Cairo to Amsterdam last year to gain better access to capital markets, still has a $673.7 million tax charge on its balance sheet as a liability pending final resolution of a tax dispute with the Egyptian government. (Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Sophie Walker)