Q3 operating profit 1.92 bln SEK vs mean forecast 1.52 bln
Organic sales -5.1% yr/yr
Shares rise 2%
Adds CEO comment, background, detail, shares
STOCKHOLM, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Sweden's SKF SKFb.ST, the world's biggest maker of industrial bearings, reported quarterly operating earnings far above analysts' forecasts on Tuesday and said demand had rebounded from the previous quarter though the outlook remained uncertain.
The company has benefited from an upswing in activity in the automotive sector and in several industrial segments since the pandemic crisis of the second quarter, but results also suggested internal measures to increase profitability were generating results.
Third-quarter operating earnings at the Gothenburg-based company fell to 1.92 billion Swedish crowns ($219.76 million) from 2.29 billion a year earlier, well ahead of the 1.52 billion mean analysts' forecast according to Refinitiv data.
Adjusted for non-recurring items, the operating profit was 2.48 billion, up versus the previous year, despite the rival of Germany's Schaeffler SHA_p.DE reporting a like-for-like sales decline of 5.1% year-on-year in the quarter.
"Our strong results in the third quarter illustrate that we are delivering on the implementation of our strategy," Chief Executive Alrik Danielson said in a statement.
"Uncertainty surrounding the near-term economic climate makes it difficult to provide a reliable demand outlook for the fourth quarter."
Danielson has spent recent years aiming to make SKF leaner, faster and less cyclical by investing in manufacturing automation, pushing performance-based revenue models and cutting costs.
The company has beaten earnings forecasts in every quarter this year. SKF shares turned positive following the results and were up 2.2% at 1217 GMT.
($1 = 8.7369 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom, editing by Anna Ringstrom and Niklas Pollard)
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