* Op profit up 17 pct on the year
* Sales in line with forecast
* Emerging market demand offsets weak Europe
(Adds quotes, shares)
STOCKHOLM, Oct 26 Measurement technology group
Hexagon AB said on Friday a recovery in the United
States was gathering pace and that stronger demand in emerging
markets would help offset weaker European markets.
Hexagon posted a 17 percent rise in quarterly operating
earnings, in line with forecasts, with brisk growth in Asia and
the Americas offsetting weaker demand in Europe.
"It feels more and more that the (U.S.) recovery one speaks
of is underway," Chief Executive Ola Rollen told Reuters.
"The engineering and auto sectors have driven this so far.
What we are now seeing is that infrastructure work is also
getting going," he added.
Organic growth, which strips out acquisitions and currency
fluctuations, rose 11 percent in Asia in the quarter - compared
with a flat result in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The group's Americas division, which includes the United
States, Canada and South America, saw a 7 percent sales rise.
"I expect a continued recovery and stable growth from the
U.S., while I expect a weak market in west Europe," Rollen said.
Analysts have also expected a gradual pick-up in demand for
the firm's design and measurement instruments and software in
China to help drive business following a slowdown last year.
Rollen said organic growth in China was 11 percent.
The Swedish company, which sells under brands such as Leica
Geosystems as well as its own name, reported a third-quarter
operating profit of 116 million euros, compared with an average
forecast of 115 million seen in a Reuters poll of analysts.
"This is a solid report, and even if it is just in line with
expectations they show that they continue to deliver," said Jon
Hyltner, an analyst at Handelsbanken.
Hexagon shares, up almost 40 percent so far this year, edged
0.8 percent lower in early trade, in line with the wider blue
chip Stockholm index.
($1 = 0.8093 euros)
(Reporting by Helena Soderpalm and Mia Shanley, editing by