July 6, 2020 / 5:47 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Geberit's quarterly sales drop as pandemic hammers construction sector

(Adds details on results, market scenario and background)

ZURICH, July 6 (Reuters) - Swiss plumbing supplies company Geberit on Monday reported a 15.9% drop in second-quarter sales and did not provide an annual outlook as construction activity declined during the coronavirus pandemic.

Geberit, whose products are used in new construction and renovation projects, is seen as an indicator for the broader construction sector.

Sales fell to 671 million Swiss francs ($711.48 million) in the second quarter from 797 million francs a year earlier, the company said, adding that sales adjusted for currency swings were still down 10.7%.

Geberit, whose piping and bathroom products are mainly used by plumbers, said it was impossible to give an outlook due to the market uncertainty induced by the pandemic.

The construction industry has been dented since mid-March, with construction sites in Italy, France, the UK and Spain closed for extended periods to halt the spread of the virus.

Geberit said its supply chains remained largely intact during the first six months of 2020 and it was well-equipped to meet current and future challenges.

Sales in Germany, Geberit’s biggest market that has been less severely hit by the coronavirus, were up 2.9% in the first half.

The sanitary equipment maker brought forward its sales figures, citing the volatility of the global market. It is due to report its first-half earnings on Aug. 18.

$1 = 0.9431 Swiss francs Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz and John Revill, Editing by Michelle Martin and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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