January 17, 2019 / 7:19 AM / in 6 months

Austria's Schoeller-Bleckmann nearly triples 2018 operating profit

VIENNA, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Oilfield equipment producer Schoeller-Bleckmann said on Thursday its full-year operating profit almost tripled, thanks to strong demand for its drilling motors and circulation tools in North America and a gradual recovery in other markets.

SBO, which generates more than half of its revenue in the North American region, reported 2018 preliminary earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 70 million euros ($80 million), up from 25.6 million euros in 2017.

“We saw recovery in almost all regions alongside the dynamic North American business,” Chief Executive Gerald Grohmann said in a statement. “The unexpectedly sharp drop in the oil price and the slowdown in activities in the fourth quarter had only a relatively minor impact on SBO’s performance.”

Sales rose 30 percent to 420 million euros in the period.

Analysts had expected an operating profit of 71.6 million euros on sales of 420 million euros, according to a Reuters poll.

SBO will release its final 2018 results on March 19. ($1 = 0.8780 euros) (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle Editing by Alexander Smith)

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