February 26, 2019 / 9:57 AM / 7 months ago

Swiss builder Implenia to replace CFO, slash dividend

ZURICH, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Swiss construction company Implenia announced a leadership shake-up on Tuesday including the departure of its chief financial officer after a sharp fall in annual earnings, sending its shares 11 percent lower.

CEO Andre Wyss, who joined last year from Novartis, is seeking to stabilise Implenia after problems forced the builder to take writedowns on projects in Germany, Norway and Poland.

Its 2018 profit slumped to 504,000 Swiss francs ($503,798) from 39 million a year earlier despite sales rising 13 percent to 4.4 billion francs.

The company announced Chief Financial Officer Beat Fellmann would leave, to be replaced by Marco Dirren, head of finances at the infrastructure division of Swiss Federal Railways.

Also departing are German construction boss Stefan Roth, human resources chief Thomas Foery and Christof Gaemperle, head of the company’s Austrian and Romanian unit.

Implenia’s shares fell 11 percent after its announcement, which included a reported loss per share of 0.28 francs and a proposed dividend of 0.50 francs per share, down from 2 francs last year.

The stock has tumbled 50 percent in the last year.

“The new CEO has to significantly strengthen Implenia’s risk management capabilities,” Bank Vontobel analyst Bernd Pomrehn wrote in a note to investors. “We see the risk that the current balance sheet structure will limit the company’s future growth and payouts to shareholders.”

$1 = 1.0004 Swiss francs Reporting by John Miller; editing by Jason Neely

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