April 24, 2012 / 10:57 AM / 7 years ago

Kone raises outlook after strong Q1

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish lift and escalator maker Kone (KNEBV.HE) raised its outlook for 2012 after a bigger-than-expected rise in first-quarter operating profit, citing strong sales growth in Asia.

Kone shares rose 7.9 percent to 44.47 euros after the company reported a 12 percent rise in January-March operating profit to 132.7 million euros ($174.2 million). That beat all analysts’ forecasts.

In a sign of strong momentum ahead, Kone said it booked new orders worth 1.37 billion euros, which was also above all analysts’ estimates.

Kone raised its full-year operating profit outlook to 750-800 million euros from a previous range of 730-790 million euros. It also lifted its sales growth forecast to 10-15 percent from a previous 8-13 percent.

“The new orders were hugely better than what was expected and upgrading the guidance already so early in the year was a big surprise,” said Pohjola Bank analyst Pekka Spolander.

Reporting by Terhi Kinnunen; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford

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