BRUSSELS Feb 28 Belgian steel cable and wire
maker Bekaert on Friday reported a 42 percent increase
in underlying operating profit, as it boosted its margins in the
Asia Pacific and EMEA regions after a tough restructuring
The company, whose steel wire reinforces a quarter of the
world's automotive tyres, said it saw strong demand from the
Chinese tyre sector adding that the European automotive sector
also showed an upward trend in the second half of 2013.
Some two-thirds of Bekaert's market value has been eroded
since its peak in 2011, after a crash in the market for sawing
wire used for solar panels, prompting a restructuring designed
to cut 1,850 jobs and save around 100 million euros a year.
Margins in the Asia Pacific region rose to 8.1 percent from
3.9 percent, while profitability in the Americas fell.
In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, margins also rose,
though not by as much as in Asia.
Overall, operating profit adjusted for one offs (REBIT) rose
42 percent in 2013 to 166 million euros ($227.11 million),
broadly in line with the 165 million euros expected in a Reuters
poll of six analysts.
($1 = 0.7309 euros)
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Catherine Evans)