March 16, 2017 / 6:37 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-HeidelbergCement raises Italcementi synergy target

* Company cut 1,870 jobs by end-2016 vs planned 500

* Proposes dividend of 1.60 eur/shr vs Rtrs poll avg 1.54 eur

* Trading update disappointed market last month (Adds details on guidance)

BERLIN, March 16 (Reuters) - Germany’s HeidelbergCement raised its target for cost savings from the acquisition of Italcementi after cutting jobs almost four times as fast as planned in 2016 and proposed to raise its 2016 dividend by a better-than-expected 23 percent.

The maker of cement, aggregates and ready-mixed concrete, said it had cut 1,870 jobs by the end of 2016 versus the 500 originally planned, and raised its synergy target to 470 million euros ($504 million) from 400 million euros.

The proposed dividend of 1.60 euros per share is above the average estimate of 1.54 euros in a Reuters poll.

HeidelbergCement disappointed the market last month with a trading update in which it blamed bad weather and a weak Indonesian market for a 4 percent slide in fourth-quarter sales, and said it would now focus on raising prices.

On Thursday, the company forecast a moderate increase in 2017 revenue and pro forma result from current operations, as well as a significant rise in net profit before one-offs.

By moderate, HeidelbergCement means medium single-digit to low double-digit growth.

“We remain cautiously optimistic about 2017,” Chief Executive Bernd Scheifele said in a statement. “HeidelbergCement will benefit from the good and stable economic development in the industrial countries.”

These countries - the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, the northern European countries and Australia - generate 60 percent of HeidelbergCement’s revenue.

$1 = 0.9323 euros Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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