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UPDATE 1-Sandvik seeks to step up pace of growth

* Sandvik shifts to growth focus

* Aims to grow faster than market

* Seeking fast expansion in digital manufacturing (Adds background, detail, CEO comments)

STOCKHOLM, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Sandvik, the world’s biggest maker of metal-cutting tools, said its main focus was to look for opportunities to speed up growth, as the company affirmed its current financial targets ahead of strategy presentations later on Tuesday.

The company, also a major mining equipment maker, said the group sales growth target of at least 5% through a business cycle remained, but it also highlighted its ambition to grow much faster than the market in several areas.

Sandvik, which has turned itself into a decentralised and more resilient company over the past few years, is now looking to spur growth, and has begun to expand in areas such as software, additive manufacturing and metrology.

“The recent years we have focused on stability before growth and to ensure agility and ability to quickly adjust to changing market conditions,” Chief Executive Stefan Widing, appointed earlier this year, said in a statement.

“I am pleased to say that we will now shift to growth, and our new organisational set up will allow us to capture the interesting opportunities that lie ahead of us.”

Widing told reporters that Sandvik, which has had negative organic order growth for the past six quarters, would have to prove it could reach the current group growth target before discussing any increase.

The company said its Manufacturing and Machining Solutions, Rock Processing Solutions and Mining and Rock Solutions businesses would aim to grow at least twice as fast as their respective estimated market growth.

“In some of these markets we expect to grow faster than the market organically, but this will also mean that we are adding a more accelerated acquired growth agenda to our strategy going forward,” Widing said. (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; Editing by Simon Johnson)

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