UPDATE 1-Schindler earnings beat estimates on China recovery

(Adds additional details, CEO quote)

Feb 17 (Reuters) - Swiss elevator and escalator manufacturer Schindler expects its 2021 revenue to grow in a range of 0% to 5%, after posting fourth-quarter earnings slightly above estimates as an economic recovery in China offset pandemic hit and foreign currency effects.

The company said on Wednesday net profit reached 226 million Swiss francs ($253 million) in the October-December period, beating the average analyst expectations of 222 million francs in a company-provided poll.

“We introduced a series of measures to enhance our competitiveness, as some of the key markets have been experiencing a contraction and are not likely to return to 2019 levels before 2022 at the very earliest,” Chief Executive Officer Thomas Oetterli said.

The Chinese market, which accounts for more than half of the world’s new lift installations and 14% of Schindler’s sales, went into a lockdown after the new coronavirus emerged there late in 2019, but rebounded swiftly, and the country’s GDP in 2020 grew by 2.1% year-on-year.

In late January, Finnish rival Kone reported a bigger-than-expected increase in fourth-quarter profit as new equipment orders in China grew significantly in both monetary value and in units.

Schindler’s fourth-quarter sales were 2.93 billion francs, slightly above the 2.91 billion francs estimated in the poll. ($1 = 0.8929 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Bartosz Dabrowski in Gdansk; additional reporting by Elizaveta Gladun; Editing by)