Besalco Advances in Chile as Operating Margins Widen

Besalco SA, Chile’s largest engineering group by market value, rose the most in nine months as an improvement in margins led investors to speculate on improved prospects for profit growth this year.

Besalco climbed 1.1 percent to 850 pesos at 3:03 p.m. in Santiago after earlier gaining 4 percent, the most intraday since July 27. The Ipsa stock index advanced 0.4 percent.

The company reported yesterday after the close of markets an operating margin of 7.13 percent in the first quarter, up from 5.88 percent a year earlier.

“The higher margins are a sign that things are improving for the company, and that is boosting the stock,” Jorge Sepulveda, an analyst at EuroAmerica Corredores de Bolsa SA in Santiago, said in a telephone interview. “Profit retreated less than sales, so that is helping.”

The company posted profit of 4.33 billion pesos ($9.19 million) in the first quarter, down 5.5 percent from a year earlier, while sales retreated 14 percent to 82.8 billion pesos.

Besalco’s shares have dropped 9.3 percent in the past 12 months, compared with a 6.6 percent decline for the Ipsa index.

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