February 26, 2020 / 8:30 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Brickmaker Wienerberger banks on efficiency gains to boost profit

* Sees 2020 adj EBITDA at 625-645 mln euros

* Q4 adj EBITDA up 13% at 130.8 mln euros

* Q4 revenues flat at 810.1 mln euros

* Proposes dividend of 0.60 euro/shr for 2019 (Adds Q4, British market, details)

VIENNA, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Wienerberger, the world’s largest brickmaker, plans further efficiency measures to increase its core profit this year as it expects residential construction in its core markets to remain flat or to fall slightly.

The group, which operates across Europe and in North America, plans to increase adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to 625-645 million euros ($679-$701 million) this year from 587 million euros in 2019, it said on Wednesday.

It reported a 13% increase in its fourth-quarter adjusted EBITDA thanks to strong demand for its bricks, cost savings and higher prices. Revenue in the three months through December was flat at 810.1 million euros.

The company’s shares were down about 2.4% in line with the broader market.

Wienerberger said it would propose an increase to dividend to 0.60 euros per share from last year’s 0.50 euros, in line with its strategy to give shareholders more of the benefits of the company’s performance.

The group had undertaken measures to cushion possible temporary delays in the supply of products to Britain as a result of Brexit, it said, adding that residential construction in the country declined slightly in the fourth quarter.

Britain is Wienerberger’s largest single market, it has contributed around 10% of group sales in recent years.

An expansion of its product portfolio in the country and the acquisition of a roofing accessories specialist helped to increase revenues in the country in 2019, Wienerberger said. ($1 = 0.9201 euros) (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle Editing by Michelle Martin and Jane Merriman)

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