* Sees 2012 op. profit 780-820 mln euros vs 826 mln in poll
* Third quarter operating income rose 19 percent
* Shares fall 4 percent (Rewrites lead, adds share reaction, CEO, analyst comment)
HELSINKI, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Finnish lift and escalator maker Kone expects its full year operating profit to rise by less than market forecasts as world construction markets show signs of weakness.
Kone adjusted its forecast for 2012 operating profit, excluding one-time costs, to 780-820 million euros ($1.02-$1.07 billion) from a previous 760-820 million, compared with the average analyst forecast of 826 million euros in a Reuters poll
The company posted operating profit of 725 million euros in 2011.
Kone’s July-September operating income rose 19 percent to 224.5 million euros thanks to strong sales growth in Asia. But Chief Executive Matti Alahuhta was cautious about the global construction market.
“Construction in most western markets is at a weak level, and also the world’s largest new equipment markets, China and India, are going through a lower growth phase in their cycles,” he said.
Shares in Kone fell 4 percent in afternoon trade after the company’s statement on Tuesday.
Analysts said the stock was also weighed down by an extra dividend of 1.50 euros for 2011 which the shareholders’ meeting is expected to approve on Wednesday, but some said the shares were also not cheap to begin with.
“The stock is pretty highly valued, it has risen quite briskly,” Pareto analyst Jari Harjunpaa said.
As of Monday, its enterprise value/EBITDA ratio was nearly 12, compared to around 7 for most of its peers. ($1 = 0.7651 euros) (Reporting by Terhi Kinnunen; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)