MILAN, April 30 (Reuters) - Italian truck and tractor maker Fiat Industrial cut its 2013 targets, after sales in recession-hit Europe continued to fall, pushing its truck unit to a first-quarter loss that missed analysts' expectations.
Robust sales of Case New Holland's huge, high margin tractors and harvesting combines could not offset declines in trucks and construction equipment as building and freight hauling withered still further in a weak economy.
Fiat Industrial said it saw full-year revenue growing by 3 to 4 percent, and trading margin at between 7.5 percent and 8.3 percent of sales, based on its performance to date, its expectations of recovering trading conditions across all sectors and ongoing strength in the agricultural equipment market.
Previously, it was targeting a 5 percent increase in revenue in 2013 and a trading margin of between 8.3 and 8.5 percent of sales, or between about 2.2 billion and 2.3 billion euros.
Group trading profit was 411 million euros in the first quarter, below the 435 million euros expected by an analysts' consensus published on the company's website.
It added in a statement that it saw net industrial debt at between 1.4 and 1.6 billion euros this year, up from the range of 1.1 to 1.4 billion euros it forecast at the end of January.
Revenue at its truck unit Iveco, which accounts for about one third of sales, fell 4 percent to 1.82 billion euros, pushing Iveco into a trading loss of 9 million euros compared with a profit of 63 million euros a year ago.
Analysts were expecting a trading profit at Iveco of 55 million euros.
At its agriculture and construction equipment arm, net revenue was flat at 3.79 billion euros, while trading profit rose to 411 million euros from 368 million euros. All of that growth came from farm equipment, where sales rose 8.3 percent.
Fiat Industrial, which was spun off from its sister company Fiat in 2011, plans to merge with its U.S. unit CNH to create the world's third-largest capital goods group.
The company did not provide any new details about the merger on Tuesday. Chairman Sergio Marchionne will speak to analysts on a conference call at 1530 GMT.