Alfa Laval sees higher demand as profit narrowly lags forecast

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's Alfa Laval said on Wednesday it expected demand in the first quarter to be higher than the levels seen in the preceding quarter after the engineering group reported profits slightly below market forecasts.

The company said its supply chain had been stable in the quarter, while delayed deliveries due to component shortages remained roughly unchanged from earlier in 2021.

"Full year order intake reached a record level of SEK 45.7 billion with growth in almost all end markets and geographies," Chief Executive Tom Erixon said in a statement.

The company, which makes products such as heat exchangers, pumps and filters, reported fourth-quarter adjusted operating profit (EBITA) of 1.99 billion crowns ($214.97 million) versus 1.97 billion a year ago and mean forecast 2.04 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Alfa, which saw order bookings rise last year as many industries ramped up spending following a pandemic-induced slump in 2020, said quarterly order intake jumped to 11.65 billion crowns from a year-ago 9.27 billion crowns, just short of the 11.67 billion seen by analysts.

It proposed a dividend of 6.00 crowns per share for 2021, up from 5.50 crowns in 2020 and compared to a mean forecast of 5.91 crowns.

($1 = 9.2569 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Helena Soderpalm; editing by Niklas Pollard)