Kuka Shares Rise as Robot Maker Raises Full-Year Forecast

Kuka AG, Europe’s largest maker of assembly-line robots, rose to the highest price in almost 15 months after the company increased its 2012 forecasts following growth in second-quarter earnings.

Kuka jumped as much as 6.8 percent to 20.40 euros, the highest intraday price since May 13, 2011, and was trading up 4.7 percent at 10:30 a.m., valuing the company at 677.8 million euros ($841 million).

Full-year revenue will be about 1.6 billion euros, compared with a previous forecast for 1.5 billion euros, while earnings before interest and taxes will amount to at least 6 percent of sales versus a 5.5 percent to 6 percent prediction, Augsburg, Germany-based Kuka said in a statement today. Robotics and systems units “contributed equally” to growth in sales, it said.

“This is a good development, as margins for orders in the general industry are higher than in the automotive industry,” Harald Rehmet, a Stuttgart, Germany-based analyst at Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg, said by phone. “The numbers are better than expected. Kuka is performing more strongly than the German engineering sector.”

Second-quarter Ebit adjusted for financing costs surged 74 percent to 28.6 million euros, Kuka said. Profit beat the 22.5 million-euro average of six analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 33 percent to 448.7 million euros.

The systems unit’s new orders in the quarter rose 16 percent to 305 million euros, with most contracts coming from the car industry, Kuka said. Orders at the robotics unit increased 14 percent to 210.3 million euros, helped by a quarterly record of 93.3 million euros from general-industry customers.

Kuka plans to add to its robotics factory in Augsburg, in addition to a previously announced expansion in China, to “adjust capacity to strong market growth,” the company said.