November 7, 2018 / 8:17 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Lower car industry demand hits Voestalpine's H1 profit

* H1 net profit at 316 mln euros

* H1 sales at 6.67 bln euros (Adds, detail, CEO, shares)

VIENNA, Nov 7 (Reuters) - First-half net profit at Austrian speciality steelmaker Voestalpine fell 19 percent, largely due to weaker demand from the auto industry, maintenance work at its largest blast furnace and an unplanned shutdown of a U.S. plant.

Net profit in the six months through September came in at 316.2 million euros ($361.9 million) on sales of 6.67 billion euros, the group said on Wednesday.

Spending jumped 40.5 percent to 475 million euros, with the money used for a longer-than-expected overhaul of its blast furnace in Linz, northern Austria; preparatory work for a new special steel plant Kapfenberg, central Austria; and the launch of a high-tech forging press for aerospace materials.

“The slightly weaker results for the first half of the business year reflect the initial effects of globally increasing protectionist economic policies ... and internal non-recurring effects that impact earnings,” said Chief Executive Wolfgang Eder in a statement.

The group issued a profit warning last month, reducing its full-year target for earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to just under 1 billion euros from around 1.18 billion, citing weaker demand from carmakers and disruptions to international trade.

The company’s shares were 0.3 percent higher in early trade at 32.06 euros.

$1 = 0.8737 euros Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Mark Potter

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