Kuka Shares Rise 9% as Demand for Robots Helps to Beat Forecast

Kuka AG, Europe’s largest maker of assembly-line robots, rose to the highest level in 19 years as rising demand helped the company to exceed its own forecast for sales and profitability.

Revenue surged 18 percent to 2.1 billion euros ($2.4 billion) last year while earnings before interest and taxes gained 18 percent to 142 million euros, leading to a profit margin of 6.8 percent, the company said in e-mailed statement today. Kuka’s own forecast was for sales of 2 billion euros and profitability of 6.5 percent.

Augsburg, Germany-based Kuka and other robot makers such as Switzerland’s ABB Ltd. and Japan’s Fanuc Corp. are benefiting from rising demand for industrial robots that can assemble a wide range of products such as cars and plane parts or help polish and tailor components. Kuka’s orders received rose 18 percent to 2.2 billion euros.

The stock gained as much as 9 percent to 70.50 euros in Frankfurt trading, the highest level since 1996, and was up 4.8 percent as of 10:28 a.m. Before today, the stock had gained 83 percent in the last 12 months, beating the 15 percent gain of Germany’s MDAX index.