Schneider First-Quarter Sales Miss Estimates as Europe Falls

Schneider Electric SA (SU), the world’s biggest maker of low- and medium-voltage equipment, reported first-quarter sales that missed analysts’ estimates, hurt by falling demand in western Europe and North America.

Revenue declined 3.7 percent to 5.21 billion euros ($6.80 billion), the company based in Rueil-Malmaison near Paris said in a statement today. Analysts polled by Bloomberg projected 5.30 billion euros. Excluding acquisitions and exchange rate fluctuations, sales fell 2.7 percent as the euro strengthened.

“Europe remained difficult,” and “our performance was negatively impacted by one-offs and high comparables” in North America, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Pascal Tricoire said in the statement. “Improvement in China supported return to growth in Asia-Pacific and other new economies continued to grow.”

The CEO reiterated his 2013 target for “low-single digit organic growth in sales and a stable to slightly up adjusted” earnings before interest, taxes and amortization margin as the company is slashing costs by cutting jobs, regrouping sites, being more selective on services contracts, and redesigning products to adapt to a construction slump and government austerity measures in Europe.

Foreign exchange fluctuations trimmed first-quarter revenue by 74 million euros as the European currency strengthened against the dollar, the yen, the Indian rupee and the Brazilian real, Schneider said.

Sales were also hurt by a smaller number of working days in the first quarter, notably in North America, the company said. Spending on government buildings data centers was weaker too, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Francois de Beaupuy in Paris at fdebeaupuy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at sthiel1@bloomberg.net

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