August 21, 2012 / 8:47 AM / 5 years ago

CORRECTED-Bilfinger says some customers calling off projects

(Corrects lead and headline to show customers, not company calling off projects)

HAMBURG, Aug 21 (Reuters) - German industrial service provider Bilfinger Berger says some of its customers are calling off or postponing a number of non-urgent projects as a result of the economic downturn.

But Chief Executive Roland Koch told journalists in Hamburg late on Monday that this was not having “dramatic consequences” on the company.

“We have great optimism in these times without denying that things are getting more challenging,” he said, while confirming that Bilfinger expects 2012 net income to come in between 265 million euros ($327 million) and 275 million euros.

Bilfinger this month said it expects operating profit to rise by at least 13 percent this year after proceeds from disposals lifted first-half earnings above forecasts.

Over the last 10 years, Bilfinger has transformed itself from a construction group into a service supplier specialising in maintenance of industry facilities, power plants and real estate. Services now account for 80 percent of Bilfinger’s sales.

Koch said he would stick to his strategy of expanding outside Europe. The group has about half a billion euros in finances for acquisitions and was targeting mainly industrial services and power plant services providers.

In its most recent move, Bilfinger said in July it bought U.S.-based assembly and service specialist Westcon.

$1 = 0.8103 euros Reporting by Jan Schwartz; Writing by Ludwig Burger. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.

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