January 28, 2020 / 11:12 AM / a month ago

Atlas Copco misses forecasts, sees weaker fourth-quarter

A Atlas Copco company logo is pictured at the "Bauma" Trade Fair for Construction, Building Material and Mining Machines and Construction Vehicles and Equipment in Munich, southern Germany, April 11, 2016. REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Atlas Copco (ATCOa.ST) missed fourth-quarter earnings forecasts on Tuesday and forecast slightly lower demand in the first quarter, sending shares in the compressor and vacuum pump maker 5% lower.

Sweden’s most valuable listed company reported an operating profit of 5.63 billion Swedish crowns ($593 million), down from 5.66 billion a year earlier and below the 6.02 billion expected by analysts Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

Its operating profit was 5.91 billion crowns excluding one-off items, the company said.

“The activity level in most end markets weakened during the last quarter,” CEO Mats Rahmstrom said in a statement.

“Despite this the order intake increased and revenues were record high.”

Expectations ahead of the results had been running high, with Atlas Copco shares surging 62% over the past year versus a 23% rise for the European industrials sector .SXNP.

Investors have also been encouraged by recent manufacturing surveys pointing to signs of stabilization in China and Europe.

Order intake was 25.6 billion crowns in the quarter, up 1% organically but below the 26.0 billion expected by analysts.

The company said orders for vacuum equipment, where semiconductor companies are large customers, grew, while orders from the automotive industry were down significantly.

Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard and Jason Neely

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