(Adds CEO comments, shares, background, detail)
STOCKHOLM May 2 Measurement technology and
software firm Hexagon posted first quarter core
earnings roughly matching market expectations on Tuesday and
said PPM, its division which relies most on the oil industry,
had had another weak quarter.
* Hexagon Q1 operating profit, adjusted for non-recurring
items, 175 mln euro ($191 million), up from 161 mln in the
year-ago period, and slightly ahead of a 172 mln euro forecast
in a Reuters poll.
* Q1 like-for-like sales up 3 pct, matching analyst
* Like-for-like sales up 6 pct excluding oil and gas
business, strong growth in industrial sector.
* Hexagon CEO Ola Rollen, in news agency conference call,
says "there is optimism in a lot of the areas where we operate",
reason to believe demand could continue to strengthen".
* Hexagon PPM (Process, Power & Marine), which relies
heavily on business from the oil and gas industry, weighed
heavily on group growth, with an 11 percent organic sales fall.
* PPM accounts for 15 pct of Hexagon sales, it is the firm's
most profitable business.
* CEO Rollen says counts on PPM returning to growth in H2.
* CEO Rollen says believes PPM demand has bottomed out,
costs to come down in coming quarters.
* CEO Rollen says hopes to sign first contract for Smart
Build product in Q2, currently in negotiations.
* CEO Rollen says acquisition prices at high levels, has
acquisition room of around 1.6 bln euros.
* Hexagon shares, which were roughly flat ahead of the
results, down 1.6 percent at 1244 GMT.
* Shares up 17 percent YTD, with an 8 pct gain last week on
the back of a string of strong earnings in the Swedish
industrial sector from companies like AB Volvo and
* The company has gone through a turbulent period with main
owner Melker Schorling announcing he will step down for health
reasons as chairman and Rollen being charged with insider
trading in Norway in a company unrelated to Hexagon.
($1 = 0.9161 euros)
(Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; Editing by Simon Johnson)