October 26, 2017 / 9:56 AM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Schneider Electric confident for 2017 despite strong euro

(Updates with CEO comments)

Oct 26 (Reuters) - France’s Schneider Electric raised its financial targets for the second time this year on Thursday, as strong third quarter growth made up for negative currency effects.

Schneider Electric has been pursuing a strategy of accelerating growth in its higher margin low voltage, IT and industrial automation businesses, while trying to withdraw from lower margin projects in its infrastructure business.

The firm said its low voltage and industrial automation businesses posted organic growth of 4.3 percent and 6.9 percent respectively in the third quarter.

“These two businesses are growing in our four major regions, we are in a dynamic phase which is continuing and accelerating,” Chief Financial Officer Emmanuel Babeau told Reuters.

The company is now targeting 2017 organic revenue growth of around 4 percent outside infrastructure, compared to 1-3 percent initially, and a 50-70 basis points organic adjusted EBITA margin improvement, compared to 20-50 basis points initially.

Schneider Electric said third quarter revenue of 5.9 billion euros was up 2.7 percent on an organic basis, but it was below the 6.02 billion euros forecast by a poll conducted for Reuters.

A 206 million euro ($243 million) foreign exchange impact, mainly due to the depreciation of the U.S. dollar and the Chinese Yuan against the euro, was partly to blame.

“It is clear that if the appreciation of the euro against almost all currencies continues, it will have an impact on 2018 and we will make sure we take appropriate steps to respond,” Babeau said. ($1 = 0.8468 euros) (Reporting by Alan Charlish and Gilles Guillaume; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath and Alexander Smith)

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