BUSINESS
04/30/2013 12:39 EDT | Updated 06/30/2013 05:12 EDT

Fiat Industrial cuts revenue forecast after Q1 profits falls 22 per cent

MILAN - Fiat Industrial, the Italian maker of heavy vehicles, on Tuesday reduced its full-year forecasts after reporting a 22 per cent drop in first-quarter profits due to weak sales of trucks and construction vehicles.

Fiat Industrial SpA reported net profit in the quarter ending March 31 was 138 million euros ($181 million), down from a restated 177 million euros in 2012. Revenue was flat at 5.8 billion euros thanks to higher sales of farm equipment which helped offset declines in truck sales and construction vehicle revenues, which were down 27 per cent.

Fiat Industrial shares closed down 5.3 per cent at 8.57 euros.

Fiat Industrial Chairman Sergio Marchionne said the lower 2013 forecasts were driven by "renewed pessimism on the construction side," which is expected to continue throughout the year, and uncertainty over truck sales in Europe, where the market contracted 15 per cent in the quarter.

Revenues at the Iveco truck division dropped 4 per cent to 1.8 billion euros, with deliveries in Europe down 7.7 per cent. Iveco's strongest markets in southern Europe are suffering the strongest declines, with Italy down by 25 per cent and Spain by 20 per cent.

The company, which is in the process of fully merging with its U.S.-based CNH agricultural and construction subsidiary, lowered its forecast of achieving 5 per cent revenue growth to a range of between 3 per cent and 4 per cent. The company raised its debt forecast for the end of the year to 1.4 billion euros to 1.6 billion euros.

Marchionne said he expects to complete the CNH merger and list the new company on Wall Street by the end of the third quarter.

Fiat Industrial, which already controls 88 per cent of CNH, is seeking a full merger with the U.S. subsidiary to boost its scale and improve efficiency.