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Bechtle Falls as Personnel Costs Reduce Profit: Frankfurt Mover

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Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Bechtle AG, the German computer and software retailer that went public in 2000, fell the most in almost three months after second-quarter earnings missed analyst estimates because of higher human-resources costs.

Bechtle lost as much as 4.3 percent to 30.06 euros, the biggest intraday drop since May 18, and was trading down 3 percent at 3:37 p.m. in Frankfurt. Bechtle was the third biggest decliner on the German HDAX Index today.

Earnings before interest and tax fell 21 percent from a year earlier to 15.4 million euros ($18.9 million), and was less than the average estimate of 18.2 million euros. Pretax profit dropped 24 percent to 15.1 million euros, the Neckarsulm-based company said today in a statement.

Higher personnel expenses and an increase in depreciation and amortization costs stemming from acquisitions were responsible for earnings decline, the company said. Bechtle stuck to a 2012 forecast of revenue rising faster than the market’s growth, while a goal of matching or exceeding 2011 earnings now “appears to be rather ambitious.”

“Bechtle’s management has become more cautious,” Tim Wunderlich, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Hauck & Aufhaeuser Privatbankiers KGaA, said in a phone interview today. “The market will lower its consensus for 2012 by up to 10 percent.”

The second quarter also presented difficult circumstances in some European countries and a “deteriorated domestic economy,” Bechtle said. The S&P Europe 350 Software & Services Industry Group Index declined 7.9 percent in the period.

To contact the reporter on this story: Myriam Wecker in Frankfurt at mwecker2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net

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