* Q2 op profit 128 mln euros matches consensus
* Sees organic growth in all regions this year
* Q2 sales rise 6 pct to 607 mln euros
* Shares up 2.0 pct, outperforming wider market
(Adds CEO, analyst comments)
STOCKHOLM, Aug 9 Technology group Hexagon AB
said on Thursday emerging market demand for its
design and measurement instruments and software would help drive
growth in the latter part of 2012, helping offset flat North
America and weak European markets.
Brisk demand in the automotive, aerospace and energy sectors
where its 3D mapping and visualisation programmes are used
helped fuel strong growth across all regions and divisions in
the second quarter, said Hexagon, which sells under brands such
as Leica Geosystems as well as its own name.
That helped the firm reach a record profit of 128 million
euros ($158 million) in the quarter, up 12 percent on the year
and right in line with analyst forecasts in a Reuters poll.
Organic growth in Asia jumped 10 percent in the quarter,
compared with a more moderate 5 percent increase in the Americas
and a slim 3 percent rise in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Hexagon was hit last year by a slowdown in China as Beijing
sought to engineer a soft landing for the booming economy but
the company has been gradually more upbeat about demand in the
country while South American sales should also drive growth.
"What we have seen in China is a continued strong growth
within the engineering segment," Chief Executive Ola Rollen told
Reuters. "It looks good and stable in Asia, and Asia for us is
of course very much China. We think China is developing well."
Like many other firms which are suffering due to
uncertainties surrounding a debt crisis in the eurozone, Hexagon
said Europe was very much of a "two-speed region", with demand
coming mainly from Northern and Eastern regions.
"While we recognise the increased uncertainty ahead of us,
particularly in the engineering segments and regionally across
parts of Europe, we expect our diversified business model to
drive continued growth in the latter part of 2012," Rollen said
in a statement.
Overall organic sales in the second quarter rose 6 percent
to 607 million euros, just beating analyst forecasts.
"The report was fully in line with expectations - a better
development in Asia and the Americas compensated for a weaker
development in Europe, and operating margins were also in line
with expectations," said Jon Hyltner, an analyst at
DNB Markets said the company's organic sales growth was
slightly above its own forecast. It noted in particular a better
than expected recovery in geosystems due to a faster recovery in
Geosystems, which provides imaging for mapping applications,
made up 35 percent of group sales in the second quarter.
Hexagon shares were up 2.0 percent in early trade, outpacing
a 0.5 percent rise in the wider Stockholm blue-chip index
A steady stream of acquisitions and strong organic growth has
made Hexagon the market leader in a specialised sector
straddling software and engineering hardware, pitting it against
rivals such as U.S. Trimble Navigation.
($1 = 0.8093 euros)
(Reporting by Mia Shanley and Helena Soderpalm, additional
reporting by Olof Swahnberg; Editing by Sophie Walker)