(Adds sales, details, outlook, CEO)
VIENNA, March 3 Austrian engineering group
Andritz reported a higher-than-expected 3.1 percent
increase in its 2016 core profit, driven by increasing demand
for its service business.
Sales fell as expected by 5.3 percent, partly because
customers postponed modernization projects and big investments.
The group said on Friday it expects to at least reach stable
sales and margins in the current year, based on a solid demand
for its machines for tissue and paper production and for the
pumps it provides for hydropower plants.
"Our central focus this year will be on creating the
prerequisites to continue Andritz's profitable growth in the
long term, based on acquisition of complementary product areas
and on internal growth," Chief Executive Wolfgang Leitner said
in a statement.
Andritz plans to increase its 2016 dividend to 1.50 euros
from 1.35 euros per share the previous year.
The company reported 2016 earnings before interest, tax and
amortisation (EBITA) of 442 million euros ($465 million) on
sales of 6.04 billion euros.
Analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected an EBITA
of 429 million euros on sales of 6 billion euros.
($1 = 0.9507 euros)
(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and