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Mikron Gains on Optimism for Robot Maker’s Margins: Zurich Mover

March 18 (Bloomberg) -- Mikron Holding AG gained the most in two months on optimism cost cutting will boost profitability of the Swiss maker of machinery for fuel injectors and medical devices, offsetting weakness in European demand.

The stock rose as much as 8.8 percent and was the second-best performer today on the 215-member Swiss Performance Index, which fell 1 percent. The shares traded at 5.80 Swiss francs as of 9:57 a.m. in Zurich. More than 32,000 shares exchanged hands, quadruple the daily average volume over the past six months.

Mikron forecast a “slight” improvement in its operating margin in 2013 and said sales will probably match last year’s level, helped by a “stronger” order backlog at its automation unit, according to a statement released today by the Biel, Switzerland-based company. Net income rose 20 percent to 8.5 million francs in 2012 as 80 percent of orders came from European customers.

“The company has proved solid cost control, and we believe that it will continue to move into somewhat higher profitability levels,” Fabian Haecki, an analyst at Bank Vontobel, wrote in a note to clients. Mikron’s 2012 profit was 37 percent higher than the analyst’s estimate.

Mikron gets two thirds of its sales from the car, medical device and pharmaceutical industries. The company said it expects a “short- to medium-term downturn” in the auto industry, while the other two markets should have “steady” demand.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Mulier in Geneva at tmulier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Risser at drisser@bloomberg.net

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