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BREAKING NEWS

Alfa Laval fourth-quarter order intake misses forecast on scrubbers slowdown

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's Alfa Laval reported quarterly order intake below market forecasts on Tuesday, dented by lower-than-expected bookings of its marine scrubbers, but forecast demand in the current quarter would be somewhat higher sequentially.

The maker of machinery such as heat exchangers, separators and ballast water treatment equipment said order intake grew 13 percent to 11.56 billion in the fourth quarter, missing the 11.94 billion forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Alfa Laval is No. 2 behind Wartsila in selling marine scrubbers, which ship companies are buying to ensure their fleet is in compliance with stricter sulphur emission regulations coming into play at the start of next year.

It had forecast demand would rise somewhat in the fourth quarter, saying marine division orders were surging due to strong demand for scrubbers that strip sulphur as fuels are burned, allowing ships to continue using high-sulphur fuel oil.

"There was no change to the market's view that the scrubber technology is a long-term financially attractive solution. Actual order intake was however lower after the extraordinary third quarter, when most suppliers filled up their backlog for delivery in 2019," Alfa said in a statement.

The group's adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and amortization (EBITA) rose to 1.79 billion Swedish crowns ($196.5 million) from 1.61 billion a year ago, but trailed the 1.98 billion seen by analysts.

Last week, Wartsila said it would shed six percent of its workforce to save 100 million euros a year by the end of 2020 as higher research and development and equipment delivery costs caused it to it missed quarterly profit forecasts.

(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Stockholm; editing by Niklas Pollard)

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