Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Atlas Copco AB, the world’s largest maker of air compressors, reported quarterly profit in line with analysts’ estimates as global manufacturing slows.
“We have a good starting point but a challenging task ahead; the global outlook is difficult to predict and we will continue seeking long- and short-term growth opportunities,” Chief Executive Officer Ronnie Leten said in a statement.
Fourth-quarter net income rose to 3.37 billion kronor ($500 million) from 2.91 billion kronor a year earlier, the Stockholm- based company said in a separate statement. Profit matched the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 15 analysts. Sales rose 15 percent to 22.3 billion kronor.
Atlas Copco, which benefits when metals prices are high because miners buy more rock drills and blast-hole rigs, said near-term demand will probably “weaken somewhat,” reiterating its forecast from October. The company will continue to boost investments in China even in an economic slowdown, while it may slow expenditure in other markets, Leten said in October.
China overtook the U.S. as Atlas Copco’s biggest market in 2009.
Atlas Copco shares reversed earlier gains of as much as 2.3 percent and declined 0.2 percent at 164.4 kronor as of 12:25 p.m. in Stockholm.
Sweden’s SKF AB, the world’s biggest maker of ball bearings, on Jan. 26 predicted little change in worldwide demand in the first quarter, even as European customers in the transport industry curtail investments.
--Editors: Kim McLaughlin, Toby Alder
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