Strabag raises output, sees higher price pressure
VIENNA May 28 (Reuters) - Central and eastern Europe's biggest builder, Strabag SE, raised first-quarter output by 10 percent, in line with expectations, as a mild winter made construction activity possible for longer.
The Austrian company reiterated it expected broadly stable output over the full year and flat operating income, after narrowing its EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) loss by 5 percent to 164 million euros ($223 million) in the quarter.
"We see ourselves faced with a challenging environment in 2014 with higher price pressure in the European infrastructure construction sector," Chief Executive Thomas Birtel said in a statement on Wednesday.
"At the same time, however, we are registering continued favourable conditions in building construction for the private sector, above all in...Germany," he added.
Austria's Wienerberger, the world's biggest brickmaker, also said this month that housing and renovation markets improved in the first quarter in major European countries including Britain and Germany.
Strabag's order backlog rose 5 percent to 14.5 billion euros, driven by large projects in Germany, Chile, Slovakia and Hungary. Other projects in Benelux, Africa and Italy were largely completed.
The company's net loss after minorities narrowed to 132 million euros from 140 million euros a year earlier.
Output was 2.34 billion euros.
Three analysts surveyed by Reuters had on average expected an operating loss of 162 million euros and a net loss after minorities of 107 million euros on output volume of 2.34 billion. ($1 = 0.7345 Euros) (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Michael Shields)
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