Geberit Climbs as Fears of a Toilet Slowdown Ease: Zurich Mover

Geberit AG shares rose to their highest price in two years as full-year sales at the Swiss maker of toilets and bathroom piping systems beat estimates, easing fears of a continued slowdown in Europe, its main market.

Geberit climbed as much as 3.6 percent and traded 3.3 percent higher at 212.1 Swiss francs as of 10:05 a.m. in Zurich. That was the highest price since Jan. 12, 2011, valuing the Rapperswil-based company at 8.2 billion francs ($8.9 billion). Trading volume was about six-tenths of the three-month daily average.

“The sales figures are positive news, as fears of a continued slowdown have not materialized,” Christoph Ladner, an analyst at Kepler Capital Markets in Zurich, said in a note to clients.

Sales rose 3.1 percent in 2012 from a year earlier to 2.19 billion francs, beating the 2.13 billion franc average of 13 analysts’ estimates. Geberit, which gets more than 90 percent of its sales from Europe, on Oct. 30 warned that sales waned more than expected in the third quarter and said market conditions were “doggedly cloudy,” sending its stock down as much as 8.5 percent that day.

“We expect 2013 to be another uneasy year,” Chief Executive Officer Albert Baehny said today on a conference call.

“In Europe, we expect a continued difficult business output.” Growth in Austria, Norway and Switzerland will balance out an “economic deterioration” in English and French construction markets, Baehny said.

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