The divestment of one of its units has led to a drop in nine-month orders at textile machinery maker Saurer AG to €1.33 billion, from €1.37bn.

Sales in the same period fell to €1.14bn from €1.27bn.

Both figures fell short of forecasts, which had predicted €1.35bn for orders and €1.20bn for sales.

However, the company reiterated that it expects an improved net profit for the year.

In 2003, Saurer reported a net profile of €47m, on sales of €1.75bn.