* CEO sees 2012 EBIT margin rising to around 9.5 pct
* Reiterates sees stable 2013 sales, higher margin
* Brazil plans still on ice given import duties
(Adds quotes and background)
VIENNA, Nov 30 Austrian fireproof materials
maker RHI expects its fourth-quarter results to weaken
somewhat from the "really fantastic" levels it generated in the
first three quarters as a steel sector slump hits home, Chief
Executive Franz Struzl said.
But he told reporters on Friday its 2012 operating margin
would still rise to around 9.5 percent and reiterated the group
expected stable sales and a higher operating margin in 2013 as a
steel upturn sets in from the middle of the second quarter.
RHI had this month forecast rising operating profit margins
this year and next when reporting third-quarter operating profit
that jumped 44.4 percent to 56.6 million euros.
RHI generates nearly two-thirds of its sales from the steel
sector, a proportion Struzl said would decline in years ahead.
He stuck to the group's mid-term goal of boosting operating
margins to at least 12 percent, and said RHI also aimed to
increase its dividend payout ratio from last year's 25 percent.
RHI shares slipped 0.3 percent to 22.94 euros by 1208 GMT,
against a 0.5 percent rise in the Austrian benchmark ATX.
Struzl said RHI would need acquisitions to hit its target of
3 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in annual sales but said while it
was in talks with potential partners in India nothing was
imminent there despite media reports to the contrary.
RHI was keen to produce in the United States and was
evaluating its options there, including potential "brownfield"
projects. It expected to decide next year on its plans, which
could need investments of around 50 million euros, he said.
Struzl was also working on a new strategy for Russia and
Ukraine and said he could not rule out producing in Russia in
the longer term, not least given its supply of raw materials.
He said RHI's plans in Brazil were still "on ice" given
punitive anti-dumping import duties. It was looking at various
options, including finding partners with access to raw
RHI had around 10 million euros in "stranded" investments in
Brazil, but could proced quickly with its production plans if it
won access to the raw materials it needs, he said.
RHI had said in September it was rethinking its plans for a
new plant in Brazil after the country raised import duties and
introduced new anti-dumping duties in a bid to protect local
manufacturers and revive its economy.
($1 = 0.7705 euros)
(Reporting by Michael Shields)