July 30, 2020 / 1:43 PM / 11 days ago

Italy's Prysmian updates full-year guidance, says margins stable

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s Prysmian (PRY.MI) issued fresh guideance for its full year operating profits on Thursday and said margins had remained stable in the first half even while the coronavirus crisis caused an 11.8% drop in sales.

The world’s largest cable maker, which withdrew full-year guidance in May after a slump in earnings at the start of the crisis, said it expected adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 800-850 million euros (722-768 million pounds).

Adjusted EBITDA reached 419 million euros in the first half, against 521 million a year earlier but margins remained stable at 8.4% against 8.9%. The result topped a company-provided market consensus of 384 million euros.

Sales reached 4.985 billion euros, an 11.8% drop in organic terms, the group said. It said strong results in North America, especially in the energy and infrastructrure segment softened the effect of the coronavirus slowdown, while the telecoms and high-voltage cables segments both suffered.

“The results of the first half of the year are characterised by the essential stability of the business and the further reinforcement of financial solidity,” Chief Executive Officer Valerio Battista said in a statement.

Net financial debt fell to 2.516 billion from 2.819 billion, a year earlier, to strong cash generation, it said.

In May, Prysmian withdrew its 2020 guidance after the coronavirus crisis triggered a 15% fall in first-quarter core profits, with the fallout expected to last into the second quarter.

Reporting by James Mackenzie

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