Schneider Electric eyes new deals

21st February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 21, 2007 (AFP) - French electrical equipment maker Schneider Electric reported a 32-percent rise in annual net profit for 2006 on Wednesday and strongly hinted that it planned more acquisitions.

PARIS, Feb 21, 2007 (AFP) - French electrical equipment maker Schneider Electric reported a 32-percent rise in annual net profit for 2006 on Wednesday and strongly hinted that it planned more acquisitions.

Schneider announced a deal to buy American Power Conversion for 6.1 billion dollars (4.6 billion euros) deal in October and said on Wednesday it planned to be a force for consolidation in the global industry for electrical equipment.

"We have the capacity to play an active role in the concentration of the sector, a sector that remains fragmented on a global scale," chief executive Jean-Pascal Tricoire said in a conference call.

The company said that net profit in 2006 had totalled 1.309 billion euros, with operating profit rising 28 percent to 2.001 billion euros.

Sales increased by 18 percent to 13.73 billion euros.

The group raised its growth targets for the 2007-2008 period, saying that sales from existing assets would increase by 6.0 percent per year and that its operating margin would reach 13-15 percent.

Previously, Schneider had set a margin target of 12.5-14.5 percent between 2005 and 2008 and sales growth of 5.0 percent.

Tricoire pointed to the success of the group's "new2" cost-cutting programme, launched in 2005.

"We are now halfway through our 'new2' programme and are fully confident in our ability to continue improving performance as of 2007, and to meet more ambitious targets," Tricoire said.

The company proposed a dividend of 3.0 euros per share, an increase of 33.0 percent from 2005.

For the acquisition of American Power Conversion (APC), Schneider said it now planned to raise about 1.0 billion euros through a capital increase to finance the deal, instead of the 1.2 billion euros originally planned.

The price of shares in the company showed a loss of 1.57 percent to 95.30 euros in middday trading as investors took profits after a recent rally, dealers said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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