February 28, 2018 / 8:23 AM / 20 days ago

Brickmaker Wienerberger lifted by eastern Europe building boom

VIENNA, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Wienerberger on Wednesday reported a 3 percent rise in full-year core profit, helped by strong demand for its building materials in eastern Europe, and higher prices.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), adjusted for contributions from the sale of non-core assets and other effects, came in at 415 million euros ($508 million), the world’s largest brickmaker said on Wednesday.

Analysts had expected 412 million euros on average, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The company plans to pay a dividend of 0.30 euros per share and a one-time special dividend of 0.10 euros per share for 2017.

Wienerberger shares gained as much as 4.5 percent in early trade and were up 4 percent at 21.80 euros at 0815 GMT.

Driven by increased spending for new houses and infrastructure in eastern European countries and the United States, revenue rose 5 percent to 3.12 billion euros, above expectations of 3.07 billion euros.

Revenue growth was also helped by Wienerberger’s recent shopping spree, as it expanded with brickmakers in Austria, Germany, the U.S. and Romania.

“Our objective is to create value for our shareholders,” Chief Executive Heimo Scheuch said in a statement. “The shareholder return was 24 percent in 2017 and more than 200 percent over the past five years.”

The group expects to increase its 2018 EBITDA to between 450 and 470 million euros. ($1 = 0.8171 euros) (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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