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D’Ieteren Declines as Earnings Miss Estimates: Brussels Mover

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May 11 (Bloomberg) -- D’Ieteren SA, the Belgian owner of the world’s largest vehicle-glass replacement company, fell to the lowest level in 2 1/2 years in Brussels trading after reporting a larger-than-estimated drop in first-quarter earnings.

The shares fell as much as 3.21 euros to 27.50 euros, the lowest price since November 2009. The stock traded at 28.40 euros, or 7.5 percent lower, at 10:28 a.m. local time and has fallen 41 percent in the last 12 months.

First-quarter pretax profit from continuing operations excluding one-time items slumped 62 percent as revenue at the windshield business Belron dropped 8.1 percent with an organic decline of 11 percent, the Brussels-based company said yesterday in a statement. The drop in sales was most acute in Europe with a 17 percent slide and the company said the trading outlook for the rest of the year remains “challenging.”

“We anticipate that the first quarter will turn out to be the toughest quarter for D’Ieteren this year,” Pascale Weber, an analyst at KBC Securities in Brussels who rates the stock “buy,” wrote today in an investor note. She had forecast a drop in first-quarter pretax earnings of 45 percent. “Belron faces macro-economic headwinds. However, one should not underestimate the impact of weather conditions.”

D’Ieteren blamed the drop in Belron sales on the “exceptionally mild weather” since November and the “weak” economic environment. Sales at D’Ieteren Auto, the car-distribution unit, rose 2 percent in the quarter, with overall group sales falling 2.6 percent.

The company kept its forecast for a 25 percent decline in full-year pretax earnings.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Clapham in Brussels at aclapham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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