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Demand for new homes keeps Austria's Wienerberger on track for 2017

[VIENNA] Austria's Wienerberger confirmed its full-year earnings forecast on Thursday after solid demand for new family houses in several European countries helped the construction group increase second-quarter core profit by 4 per cent.

The world's largest brickmaker said it still expected a rise in 2017 organic earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 9 per cent to 415 million euros (S$665.4 million).

Wienerberger shares dipped 1.2 per cent to 19.59 euros in early trading, compared with a 0.8 per cent drop in the construction sector.

Second-quarter Ebitda came in at 144.1 million euros on revenue of 868.6 million euros, Wienerberger said.

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Although its bricks' business expanded in the second quarter, its pipes and pavers unit, which generates about a third of group sales, saw a 20 per cent decline in Ebitda due to a lack of public orders and higher raw material prices.

Despite a weakening of the British pound in the first half of the year, Wienerberger reported strong sales growth in Britain, its largest single market. It said it expected the trend to continue.

To reach its full-year targets, the group would intensify efforts all business fields, chief executive Heimo Scheuch said in a statement.