ZURICH (Reuters) - Geberit posted better than expected net profit in 2022, the Swiss plumbing supplier said on Wednesday, as higher raw materials costs weighed, adding that a uncertain global backdrop made its outlook for this year hard to predict.
The maker of bathroom ceramics and piping saw shareholders' annual profit drop to 706 million Swiss francs ($749 million)from 756 million francs a year earlier, beating analyst forecasts for 668 million francs as it cut investments in property, plant and equipment.
Operating profit (EBIT) fell to 755 million, missing forecasts for 767 million francs.
The Swiss company in January reported a 2% dip in annual sales.
Geberit's raw materials costs rose 19% last year and its energy bill doubled. It attempted to offset that pressure by raising prices four times during 2022.
"Taking into account these challenging conditions ... Geberit was nonetheless able to post good results in 2022. The comparison with pre-COVID results remains very positive," it said in a statement.
The company, whose products are used in new-build and renovation projects, has previously warned of a challenging European market this year as a home improvement trend wanes.
"As a result of the ongoing geopolitical uncertainties and macroeconomic risks, it is very difficult to provide an outlook," it said on Wednesday.
With the construction industry's prospects challenging, the sanitary industry's mixed and supply chains still disrupted, the company's objectives for 2023 were "strategic stability and operational flexibility", it said.
Rising interest rates and a focus on upgrading heating rather than sanitation systems to counter more expensive fuel bills are also expected to weigh in 2023, the company said in January.
Gaining market share across its business also remained a priority, it said on Wednesday.
($1 = 0.9430 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by John Revill and John Stonestreet; Editing by Paul Carrel)