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Geberit says construction market still tough as second-quarter sales dip

By John Revill
Logo of Swiss sanitary products company Geberit is seen at a news conference to present the company's annual results, in Zurich.

By John Revill

ZURICH (Reuters) - Geberit <GEBN.S> said it still expects the construction market to remain tough for the rest of the year after the plumbing supplies company posted a 1.3% fall in sales during its second quarter.

The company, which makes piping and bathroom products used by plumbers, said its revenue fell to 797 million Swiss francs ($819.03 million), matching analyst forecasts. Net income rose 1.1% to 173 million francs, also meeting expectations.

For 2019 as a whole, the Swiss company said it expects currency-adjusted sales growth of 3% to 4%, and an operating cashflow (EBITDA) margin of 28% to 29%. In 2018 the company's sales increased by 3.1%.

Geberit said its view of the construction market had not changed significantly during the first half of 2019, saying "the environment will remain challenging due to an increase in volatility and the slowdown of construction activity in individual markets."

The company is seen as a signifier for the health of the broader construction industry with its products used in new-build as well as refurbishment projects.

Germany, its biggest market, was still seeing healthy demand but was suffering from a shortage of installers, it said, while a flat market was expected in France and Italy

The company expected a downward trend in Britain, where the economy shrank in the second quarter and many projects have been paused due to ongoing uncertainties surrounding its protracted departure from the European Union.

($1 = 0.9731 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by John Revill)