January 21, 2019 / 8:10 AM / in a month

UPDATE 1-Brickmaker Wienerberger raises dividend to highest since 2008

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VIENNA, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Wienerberger plans to reach the upper end of its 2018 core earnings target, helped by acquisitions and cost savings, the world’s largest brickmaker said on Monday, and aims to increase its dividend to 0.50 euros per share.

The group, which is streamlining its purchasing and distribution process to cope with rising costs in the industry, paid a dividend of 0.30 euros per share plus a special dividend of 0.10 euros per share for 2017.

“Record revenues, as well as operating results and the dividend at their highest levels since 2008, speak a clear language: Wienerberger is on a path of sustainable growth,” said Chief Executive Heimo Scheuch in a statement.

Wienerberger shares were 1.3 percent higher in early trade.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) will come in at the upper end of its forecast of 460 to 470 million euros ($524-$535 million), up from 415 million last year, it said.

Wienerberger, which expanded in eastern Europe and in the United States in recent months, said full-year revenue came in at 3.3 billion euros. Analysts on average expected EBITDA of 460 million euros on revenue of 3.3 billion, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

The Austrian company, which generates around 10 percent of its sales in Britain, has increased its stock there to prepare for any challenges it may face in supplying the country following Britain’s divorce from the European Union. ($1 = 0.8786 euros) (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens)

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