Alfa Laval core profit in line, sees steady demand ahead

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -Swedish engineering group Alfa Laval reported first-quarter core earnings in line with market expectations and a sequential rise in order bookings on Tuesday as it forecast steady demand in the current quarter.

Alfa Laval, a maker of products such as heat exchangers, pumps and filters, said adjusted operating profit before amortisation (EBITA) fell to 1.53 billion crowns ($234.7 million) from 1.75 billion a year ago, roughly matching a forecast 1.52 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

The manufacturer, a global enterprise based in the small town of Lund in southern Sweden, was little affected by the growing pandemic in the year-ago quarter but has since seen a slowdown in demand while cost cuts have butressed earnings.

Alfa Laval said order bookings of its products in the first three months of this year fell to 10.2 billion crowns from a year-ago 11.9 billion, but were up 2% from the preceeding quarter adjusted for currency.

"The gradual global macro-economic recovery was reflected in improved market conditions in most of Alfa Laval's end markets," Chief Executive Tom Erixon said in a statement.

"A clear example was the significant increase in yard contracting during the first quarter after several years of low demand for new ships."

Improved market conditions in most end markets resulted in the sequential increase in order intake.

Alfa Laval dropped a 1.73 billion euro ($2.09 billion) bid for Finnish Neles Oyj in November after acceptances fell far short of its offer conditions, though it still retains a minority stake in the valve maker.

(Reporting by Niklas Pollard; Editing by Johan Ahlander and Anna Ringstrom)