* Prepares split into two listed companies
* Hygiene ops Q1 adj EBIT 2.90 bln SEK vs consensus 2.85 bln
* Forest prods Q1 EBIT 498 mln SEK vs consensus 566 mln (Adds detail, background, analyst comment, shares)
By Anna Ringstrom and Helena Soderpalm
STOCKHOLM, April 27 (Reuters) - SCA will list its hygiene operations in June, the Swedish company said on Thursday, as it pursues a plan to split the business from forest products.
Europe’s largest private forest owner has grown the hygiene business, which produces tissues and nappies as well as incontinence and feminine care products, to around 85 percent of group turnover through restructuring and takeovers.
Shareholders this month approved plans to split SCA into two companies by spinning off and listing the hygiene business, which competes with Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble , under the name Essity.
“The intention is that the first day of separate trading in the two companies will be in June 2017,” it said on Thursday.
A Swedish newspaper reported this month an offer was made for the business in March, sending SCA’s shares to record highs. The paper later said SCA had rejected the bid.
On Thursday, SCA shares were up 2.5 pct at 0847 GMT, taking a year-to-date increase to 16 percent.
SCA said new targets for Essity were for annual organic growth of above 3 percent and adjusted return on capital employed of more than 15 percent.
UBS analyst David Hallden said the new growth target was somewhat modest in comparison with SCA’s former targets of 2-4 percent for the former Tissue division and 5-7 percent for the former Personal Care business.
He said the plan to list Essity in June matched his expectations.
Essity, whose brands include Tena, Tork and Libero, had a first-quarter operating profit before restructuring and other one-off costs of 2.9 billion crowns ($331 million), up from a year-ago 2.71 billion as higher volumes, better profitability and cost cuts outweighed higher raw material and energy costs.
The mean forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts had been for a 2.85 billion crown profit.
Essity generates the bulk of its turnover in Europe, but has a plan to grow its share of sales in emerging markets. In the quarter, organic sales grew 5 percent in emerging markets but shrank 1 percent in mature markets.
The market leader on incontinence care products and no. 2 on tissue said the global market for hygiene products was somewhat challenging in the quarter.
At SCA’s forestry products business, which will make up the new SCA, operating profit shrank to 498 million crowns from 533 million, against an expected increase to 566 million. ($1 = 8.7680 Swedish crowns) (Editing by Niklas Pollard and Alexander Smith)