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UPDATE 2-Schneider profit doubles as data centres rebound

* H1 profit up 112 pct on strong industry demand

* Sees EBITA margin of 15.5 pct before restructuring costs

* Sees H2 organic sales broadly in line with H1

* Shares up more than 2 pct (Adds stock, detail)

By Michel Rose

PARIS, July 30 (Reuters) - France's Schneider Electric SCHN.PA, which makes electricity cables and distribution equipment, doubled its first-half profit thanks to a rebound in industrial markets and data centres.

The group, which competes with Germany's Siemens SIEGn.DE and Swiss group ABB ABBN.VX, said revenue grew 6.4 percent organically to 8.57 billion euros ($11.2 billion) and it expected a similar pace in the second half.

Schneider, the world’s largest maker of low-voltage equipment, had previously said it expected “low single-digit sales growth over the year”. Organic sales growth excludes the effect of currency movements, acquisitions and divestments.

Shares in the group were up more than 2 percent in early trade, the third-biggest gainers on France's CAC 40 index of blue chips .FCHI, outperforming the wider DJ Stoxx Industrial goods index .SXNP, which was up 0.4 percent.

“We benefited clearly from our diversified end-market exposure, with the industrial market and data centres the first to rebound,” Chairman and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire said in a statement.

Data centres, which house large computer systems, accounted for 18 percent of the group’s overall sales in 2009.

“Schneider reports exceptional first-half results that validate its strategy and the strength of its business model, focused on emerging countries and energy efficiency,” Natixis analysts wrote in a note, confirming their “buy” rating for the stock.

Schneider generated about 35 percent of its sales in emerging markets in the first half of the year, including 24 percent in Asia alone. Europe accounted for 33 percent.

In an interview last month, chief financial officer Dominique Babeau told Reuters the group was looking for small and mid-sized acquisitions in emerging markets, in a drive away from uncertain mature markets. [ID:nN18118348]

The group said it now forecast an EBITA (earnings before interest, tax and amortisation) margin of 15.5 percent before restructuring costs, up from 14 percent before.

Schneider’s net profit jumped 112 percent to 735 million euros over the first half of the year. In the second quarter alone, sales increased by 18.5 percent to 4.66 billion euros, boosted by strong industrial demand.

The fall of the euro against the U.S. dollar also helped the group, Schneider said, boosting consolidated revenue by 248 million euros.

Schneider stock has gained more than 7 percent so far this year, underperforming the wider STOXX 600 European Industrial Goods sector .SXNP, which has risen 13 percent. (Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Geert De Clercq and Will Waterman) ($1=.7641 Euro)

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