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Swiss OC Oerlikon cuts margin target as industrial activity slows

By Tristan Chabba and Enrico Sciacovelli

(Reuters) -Swiss industrial group OC Oerlikon cut its 2022 margin outlook on Thursday, citing weakening industrial activity in a volatile market.

Industrial groups such as Oerlikon are highly exposed to cost increases as the Swiss government has stuck to its decision not to provide financial aid this winter to companies hit by a rise in energy prices.

"Leading indicators signal an upcoming downturn. However, the timing and scope are difficult to predict," Oerlikon's Executive Chairman Michael Suess said in a statement.

Oerlikon's order intake fell by 8.5% in the third quarter.

Its shares were down 5.3% at 0918 GMT, compared to the wider index's 1.32% fall, and are down by a third year-to-date.

The group is exploring how to cut costs and adjust its portfolio to prepare for a difficult fourth quarter and probably an even harder 2023, finance chief Philipp Mueller told reporters on a call.

The group trimmed its forecast for a full-year operational core earnings (EBITDA) margin to between 17% and 17.5%, from around 17.5% previously.

The company expects to exceed its earlier sales guidance of 2.9 billion Swiss francs ($2.9 billion) this year, and said it remained confident it would meet its medium-term targets.

Oerlikon reported operational EBITDA of 126 million Swiss francs in the third quarter to the end of September, up 7.6% on the year and corresponding to a margin of 17.0%.

Its polymer business, which supplies the textile, automotive and chemicals industries, saw a 17.4% rise in its operational EBITDA to 65 million francs.

The group's quarterly sales increased by 6.7% to 742 million francs.

($1 = 1.0126 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Tristan Chabba and Enrico Sciacovelli, editing by Milla Nissi and Barbara Lewis)