Switzerland's Geberit, Europe's leading maker of sanitary systems, almost doubled its net profits last year. They rose 92.3 per cent to SFr104.4 million ($61.48 million).
The company, based in canton St Gallen, said in a statement on Wednesday that it expected solid organic growth this year despite a difficult economic environment, especially in its key market, Germany.
Weak consumer sentiment and stagnating construction activity in eastern Germany have weighed heavily on business in that country recently.
"Given better financial results and a lower tax rate, management expects a [healthy] improvement of net profit and earnings per share," the company said in its earnings outlook for 2001.
Geberit issued a similar forecast in January when the group revealed a 1.5 per cent increase in sales over the previous to SFr1.21 billion.
Shareholders in Geberit, which was founded in 1874, will be pleased to see that the company is proposing a 25 per cent increase in the group's dividend to SFr10 per share.
swissinfo with agencies