March 12, 2019 / 6:52 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Toilet maker Geberit sees tough 2019 on Italy, Brexit woes

(Adds details, quote from company)

BERLIN, March 12 (Reuters) - Geberit on Tuesday said it expected 2019 to be challenging amid Brexit woes and political uncertainty in Italy, as the Swiss toilet and plumbing supplies maker posted a 5.6 percent fall in fourth-quarter profit.

It also expects capacity constraints in Germany to hurt its business this year.

Geberit’s net profit in the three months through Dec. 31 declined to 104.5 million Swiss francs ($103.37 million), it said in a statement, compared to analyst expectations for 102 million francs in an Infront Data poll.

Geberit will propose a dividend of 10.80 francs, below an analyst consensus of 11.00 francs. For the full year, the Swiss company reported a net profit of 597 million francs, roughly matching analyst expectations.

“2019 will be challenging due to a general increase in volatility and the slowdown of construction activity in individual markets,” Geberit said. “Italy is assessed more cautiously due to political circumstances, while a downward trend is foreseeable in the United Kingdom as a result of the uncertainty in relation to Brexit.”

Despite healthy demand, the company said growth potential in Germany was likely to remain limited due to capacity constraints of installers. That comes as France stagnates, Switzerland is due to decline slightly and Nordic markets are mixed, Geberit added.

$1 = 1.0107 Swiss francs Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; editing by Thomas Seythal and Shreejay Sinha

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