Bearings maker SKF Q1 profit in line with forecast, shares ease

Adds detail, shares, background

STOCKHOLM, April 22 (Reuters) - Sweden's SKF SKFb.ST, the world's biggest maker of industrial bearings, reported quarterly earnings in line with forecasts on Thursday and said it expected sales to reach pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter.

Shares in the Gothenburg-based company, which had risen around 14% so far this year, eased in early trade and were down 3.3%.

SKF, which rivals Germany's Schaeffler SHA_p.DE, said demand had improved gradually since the trough in the second quarter last year.

"Net sales is expected to continue to grow, reaching pre-COVID levels in the second quarter of 2021, i.e. in line with levels reported in the second quarter of 2019," CEO Alrik Danielson, who is stepping down this year, said in a statement.

SKF has been helped by a strong demand recovery among its automotive customers after many of its major markets were in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

First-quarter operating earnings rose to 2.70 billion Swedish crowns ($321.6 million) from 2.27 billion a year earlier, versus the 2.74 billion mean analysts' forecast according to a Refinitiv poll.

Quarterly organic net sales were up 8.6% year-on-year, with SKF's automotive business, which generates about 30% of group sales, up 16.7% and industrial, from which 70% of sales stems, up 5.4%.

SKF's earnings came on the heels of Schaeffler on Monday pre-releasing better than expected quarterly earnings.

($1 = 8.3947 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Helena Soderpalm; editing by Niklas Pollard and Simon Johnson)

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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