KONE Academy of Finish elevators and escalators manufacturer KONE in Hanover

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Kone <KNEBV.HE> reported a 10% fall in first-quarter profit hurt by the coronavirus outbreak but beat forecasts as demand for its elevators continued to be strong in many parts of the world, sending its shares 6% higher.

The elevator maker’s adjusted operating profit of 205 million euros ($223 million) topped the 184 million expected by analysts, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

“Our performance in Central and North Europe and the Americas was very strong on all fronts in Q1,” Chief Executive Henrik Ehrnrooth said in a statement, but he said the virus had hurt the company in China, India and South Europe.

“Looking ahead, it is clear that in terms of results development, the worst is still ahead of us in most parts of the world,” Ehrnrooth said.

Last month, Kone had downgraded its business outlook for this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, saying its 2020 sales and adjusted operating profit margin would at best be flat from 2019. The company reiterated that outlook on Wednesday.

“Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, demand in the new equipment market was still fairly resilient in many parts of the world,” Ehrnrooth said, adding there were signs of increasing uncertainty towards the end of the quarter.

Kone said it won orders worth 2.1 billion euros in the quarter, up 0.7% from a year earlier, and comfortably beating 16 analysts consensus forecast of 1.9 billion published by Kone.

“The pricing environment remained relatively stable in January-March. However, there were signs of some pricing pressure towards the end of the quarter,” he said.

Shares in Kone were 6% higher at 55.12 euros following the report.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki and Anne Kauranen; editing by Jason Neely and Jane Merriman)