July 1, 2014 / 12:15 PM / in 4 years

UPDATE 2-Bilfinger flags job losses, shares plummet after full-year profit warning

* Bilfinger scraps goal for rise in adjusted 2014 profits

* Now sees adj EBITDA at 380-400 mln eur vs 419 mln in 2013

* To cut capacity and costs, restructure power business

* Shares drop as much as 17 percent to one-year low

* No plans to cut dividends - CEO (Adds details on Power)

By Marilyn Gerlach

FRANKFURT, July 1 (Reuters) - Shares in Bilfinger slumped on Tuesday after the German engineering and services group issued a profit warning and said it would have to restructure its power business, entailing “significant” job losses.

Its shares fell nearly 18 percent after it scrapped its forecast for a rise in 2014 profit, blaming Germany’s shift to greener energy.

Chief Executive Roland Koch said the company planned to cut capacity and costs at its power business, which would result in “significant” job losses, without being more specific. Its power sector employs 10,000 people worldwide.

The company did not plan to cut dividends, however, as it would remain profitable, Koch said.

Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power and push into renewable energy means big utilities - major customers of Bilfinger - are cutting costs and adjusting strategies, so they are investing less in power and industrial services than the company had expected.

The falling price of natural gas in the United States has also prompted oil and gas companies to reduce their investments in Germany, where Bilfinger generates some 39 percent of output volume.

Bilfinger is in the midst of switching out of civil engineering and construction businesses to wean itself off a business model vulnerable to price wars in the building sector and is focusing on providing higher-margin engineering and services for industrial facilities, power plants and real estate.

Most of the clients of its power division, which generated about a third of Bilfinger’s core profits last year, are German utilities like E.ON, RWE and EnBW , as well as major utilities in other countries.

Koch said on Tuesday that several of the power division’s clients were either cancelling projects or were withdrawing tenders, with the high pressure piping business particularly hard hit.

Bilfinger said late on Monday that it now expects its 2014 adjusted earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) to fall to 380-400 million euros ($520-$545 million) from 419 million last year. It expects adjusted net profit to drop to 230-245 million euros, from 255 million euros in 2013.

The company had previously - in May - forecast both adjusted EBITA and adjusted net profit would “increase significantly” compared with 2013.

The power and industrial businesses accounted for about 86 percent of Bilfinger’s 409 million euros of adjusted EBITA last year.

Bilfinger’s shares closed down 17.7 percent at their lowest since September 2012.

DZ Bank analyst Jasko Terzic said the profit warning was “very surprising” and implied Bilfinger’s customers were cutting their spending more than expected.

Bilfinger estimates that its power business will see output volume fall to 1.5 billion euros this year compared with 1.7 billion last year.

Koch said capacity at its high pressure piping business in Germany, where it has around 1,100 employees, would have to be slashed by half and the adjustments would lead to an additional restructuring expense in the low to middle double-digit million range in the second half of the year.

But Koch, a former premier of the German state of Hesse, said while the group faced “market stress” at the moment, it was still profitable.

“With all this difficulty we are still in a comparatively robust situation. We are not in a free fall ... we are not in a situation where we have to cut dividends,” he said.

$1 = 0.7331 euros Additional reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Maria Sheahan/Pravin Char/Susan Fenton

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