UPDATE 1-Spain's FCC warns of slowdown in growth this year
(Adds comments from conference call)
MADRID, July 31 (Reuters) - Indebted Spanish services and construction group FCC, majority owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, said growth in its core profits would be slower than expected this year as the pace of the country's economic recovery was not matched in the construction sector.
FCC, which reported a 9.5 percent drop in its Spanish construction business for the period, said group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) would rise by between 2.5 and 3 percent this year compared to a previous estimate of 5 percent.
The company, which reported net debt rose to 5.8 billion euros ($6.4 billion) at the end of June, also said Chief Executive officer Juan Bejar would stay until September 30 and it expected to announce his successor in the next few weeks.
Bejar's departure will enable Slim to increase his influence over the indebted company and could open the door to another rights issue and strategy change, sources have said.
However, Finance Director Victor Pastor, when asked on Friday if the company would undertake another cash call, said the firm would not carry out any operation which did not bring value to shareholders.
FCC's cement unit Cementos Portland will look at refinancing a debt tranche that expires in 2016 after the summer, Pastor said. FCC transferred rescue funds to help the unit make a debt payment last year.
Mexico's Slim became FCC's largest shareholder through a capital hike in December. Analysts say Slim could expand the group's activities in Latin America, reduce the group's interest costs and impose further cost-cutting.
"Under this potential debt restructuring scenario, a new capital increase should not be ruled out to convince banks to ease the debt interest rate and to increase the financial muscle of the company to tackle new international opportunities," said broker BPI in a recent note.
At 0918 GMT, FCC's shares were down 4.36 percent at 9.29 euros per share. ($1 = 0.9127 euros) (Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Greg Mahlich)
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