* 2012 operating profit plunges 35 pct to 964 mln euros
* Expects group sales to fall "slightly" this year
* European truck sales to keep shrinking in 2013
(Adds background, company comment)
BERLIN, Feb 8 Germany's MAN SE is
bracing for a sharp drop in profit this year as truck sales in
core European markets may keep falling amid the region's
prolonged economic weakness.
Operating profit at the Volkswagen-owned truck
maker, which also includes its diesel and turbines businesses,
may post a "disproportionate" drop in 2013, the company said on
Friday, adding that group sales may decline "slightly".
The Munich-based company said operating profit plunged 35
percent last year to 964 million euros ($1.29 billion), beating
a 916-million euro forecast by 11 analysts in a Reuters survey.
Sales declined 4 percent to 15.8 billion euros, in line with
The euro zone debt crisis and stricter emission standards in
Brazil "created noticeable uncertainty in MAN's key markets",
the company said.
Heavy-duty truck makers have been mired in problems for
months as the fiscal crisis in the single-currency area and
sluggish activity in North America have weighed heavily on the
highly cyclical demand for commercial vehicles.
Sales of heavy-duty trucks weighing 16 metric tons or more
fell 9.4 percent across the 27-nation European Union to 214,086
vehicles last year, according to the European Automobile
($1 = 0.7469 euros)
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)