* Sets goal to lift EBIT margin to 27-28 pct in 2021
* Says targets sales of 4.6-5.1 bln euros
* New goals set while CEO under investigation for insider
* Chairman says supports CEO Rollen whether indicted or not
By Johannes Hellstrom
STOCKHOLM, Dec 1 Measurement technology and
software firm Hexagon set new five-year targets on
Thursday, aiming for stronger profitability and sales boosted by
higher software content and steady stream of product launches.
Hexagon has been transformed into one of Sweden's biggest
companies under Chief Executive Ola Rollen, at the helm since
2000, from a disparate conglomerate with a market value of just
a few billion crowns.
The firm said it aimed for an operating margin of 27-28
percent by the end of 2021, and for sales to reach between
4.6-5.1 billion euros. Some analysts had been expecting an
operating margin target of around 30 percent.
Its shares fell 3.2 percent at 1521 GMT compared with a 1.7
percent drop just before the new targets were revealed.
Hexagon, which counts companies in surveying, energy,
manufacturing, construction and automotive among its most main
customers, had sales of 2.3 billion euro ($2.44 billion) and an
operating margin of 22.9 percent in the year through September.
In 2011, Hexagon set a target to reach sales of 3.5 billion
euro and an operating margin of 25 percent by 2015, which were
subsequently postponed to 2016. As widely expected, those
targets were not likely to be reached, Hexagon said.
"Due to the expected low GDP growth it is more important
than ever to continue our focus on new initiatives for future
growth," Rollen said in a statement.
"Hexagon has all the tools to generate profitable growth and
we will continue to invest in innovation to expand our
Hexagon has gone through a chaotic period with main owner
Melker Schorling announcing he will step down as chairman and
Rollen being investigated and briefly held in custody for
alleged insider trading in a company unrelated to Hexagon.
The investigation is still ongoing, but Rollen has been back
at work since November 7. He denies wrongdoing and has not been
charged and the Hexagon board on Thursday repeated its support
for him to continue as CEO of the company.
"We want to make it clear that Ola has our full support
whether indicted or not. You are innocent until proven guilty,"
Chairman Schorling said in a statement.
Hexagon shares are now down about 17 percent since hitting
all-time high levels in October.
($1 = 0.9432 euros)
(Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom, editing by Niklas Pollard)