May 12, 2020 / 5:42 AM / 14 days ago

France's Alstom warns of hit to results from coronavirus crisis

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Alstom is seen at the Alstom's plant in Semeac near Tarbes, France, February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

PARIS (Reuters) - French transport infrastructure company Alstom (ALSO.PA) warned on Tuesday of a hit to its results for the 2020-2021 financial year due to the impact on its business from the coronavirus crisis.

Nevertheless, Alstom shares rose 3.4% in early trading, as some traders cited positive elements - such as a rise in cash flow - in the company’s annual results and pointed out the stock had fallen in the run up to the results.

Alstom, which earlier this year agreed to buy Bombardier’s (BBDb.TO) rail division, said its adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for the 2019-2020 financial year rose 4% from the year before to 630 million euros ($681.2 million).

Annual free cash flow climbed to 206 million euros from 153 million a year earlier.

Traders at Bank of America and Credit Suisse both wrote in notes that Alstom’s free cash flow figure had beaten expectations.

However, Alstom added the coronavirus crisis - which has hit many of the world’s transport networks - would negatively impact its orders, net profit and sales for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

Alstom said that while it could not give a precise estimate of the effect of the pandemic, it expected its objective of achieving a 5% average annual growth rate over the 2019/20 to 2022/23 period would be “slightly impacted”.

Alstom added it hoped to close its deal with Bombardier, which is subject to regulatory clearances, in the first half of 2021.

Alstom shares have fallen around 10% since the start of 2020.

Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Mark Potter

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