October 24, 2018 / 11:17 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Voestalpine shares slump to 2-yr low after it warns on profit

* H1 EBIT at 479.5 mln euros vs 549.4 mln euro forecast

* Full year EBIT seen just under 1 bln euros

* Texas plant out of operations after fire (Adds details, background, quote)

VIENNA, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Shares in Austrian specialty steelmaker Voestalpine hit a two-year low on Wednesday after it issued a profit warning for the full year, saying lower demand from the car industry and an unplanned plant shutdown had hurt second-quarter earnings.

The company said first-half earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) totalled 479.5 million euros ($548 million). That was well below average analyst expectations of 549.4 million euros, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

For the full year, the group said it now expects an EBIT of “just under 1 billion euros”. In August it had said that the EBIT would be roughly at the previous year’s level of 1.18 billion euros. Average analyst estimates are at 1.14 billion euros, Refinitiv data show.

“There is not just one reason (for the profit warning) but several factors that added up,” a spokesman said. “Above all of this, an economic downturn becomes noticeable.”

Voestalpine shares fell as much as 8.5 percent to 30.88 euros, a two-year low.

Voestalpine, which makes around one third of group sales from the auto industry, said the car market in Europe had been distorted by a new exhaust emission test procedure introduced on Sept. 1 and related uncertainties.

Its Texas plant had to be shut down due to a fire last week and will remain offline for 10-14 days, the spokesman said. The costs resulting from the fire and the shutdown could not yet be estimated.

$1 = 0.8754 euros Reporting by Kirsti Knolle and Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich; Editing by Susan Fenton/Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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