* Q2 like-for-like order intake -17% to SEK 8.1 bln
* Reported operating profit matches forecast
* Says pandemic to hit demand in near term
STOCKHOLM, July 23 (Reuters) - Swedish mining gear maker
Epiroc said on Thursday it expected the coronavirus
pandemic to weigh on demand in the near term as it reported a
quarterly earnings decline in line with market expectations and
a steep fall in order intake.
The company, one of the world's top suppliers of underground
mining equipment such as drill rigs, said second-quarter order
intake fell 17% like-for-like as clients put the brakes on
spending and pandemic restrictions hit mining activity.
"Our customers were hesitant to place equipment orders and
restrictions led to lower customer activity, particularly in the
beginning of the quarter, which impacted our aftermarket
business negatively," CEO Helena Hedblom said in a statement.
Rival Sandvik last week reported a quarterly
underlying order drop of 10% in its Mining and Rock Technology
unit with demand hit by pandemic-related mine closures.
Operating earnings at Epiroc fell to 1.42 billion Swedish
crowns ($160 million) from 2.26 billion crowns in the
year-earlier quarter, matching analysts' mean forecast,
according to data from Refinitiv.
The operating profit included items affecting comparability
totalling 165 million crowns, the company said.
"All in, we see the results as "ok" but probably no better
and that is likely not enough to support the shares this morning
after a strong run," analysts at JPMorgan said in a research
Epiroc shares, which had risen around 10% this month, were
down 4.5% in early trading in Stockholm.
($1=8.8624 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; Editing by Niklas Pollard and