ZURICH -- Net income at engineer Georg Fischer jumped to 48 million Swiss francs ($38.8 million) in the first six months of 2004 from 7 million last year, helped by cost cuts, the Swiss firm said on Monday, boosting its shares.
Operating income at the company, which supplies auto makers and also develops piping systems and machine tools, more than doubled to 92 million francs, compared with 42 million in the year-ago period, on sales of 1.77 billion.
Fischer, whose clients include car makers DaimlerChrysler and Renault, said it expected a similar result in the second half of the year, adding continuing restructuring -- including asset sales and workforce reductions -- would allow for sustainable earnings improvements by 2005.
"We can post the same revenues as in the first half," Chief Executive Kurt Stirnemann told a conference call, referring to the second half of the firm's financial year.
The firm also said its goal to post around 180 million francs in operating income in 2005 was reachable.
Strong orders, which rose 16 percent to 1.92 billion francs, prompted Swiss bank Bank Leu to upgrade its rating for Fischer shares to "strong buy" from "buy".
"The order intake... speaks for a good second half of 2004 and 2005. Georg Fischer might already exceed 100 million Swiss francs net profit in 2004," the bank said in a note.
Fischer said that although its key European market, and Germany in particular, had not shown any significant improvement, good momentum in Asia and the recovery in America had boosted its earnings.
The firm cut its net debt to 882 million francs from 1.10 billion by the end of June.
Analysts had tipped net income at 33.9 million francs, while operating income was seen at 74.9 million on sales of 1.68 billion.
Agie Charmilles, a machine tools making division of Georg Fischer group, also reported first-half results on Monday.
The division swung to a net profit excluding minorities of three million francs from a 14.7 million loss last year.