Global sports equipment maker Amer Sports Corp., whose brands include Atomic, Salomon and Wilson, has reported a first-quarter profit of $25 million (euro17 million) and said it expects sales to rise above its forecasts this year.
Net profit was up in the January-to-March period from euro300,000 a year earlier, the Finnish company said Thursday. Revenue in the quarter grew 20 percent to euro450 million ($660 million) from euro372 million in the same period in 2010.
Amer Sports said it expects the 2010 recovery in the sporting goods market to continue this year, with sales "clearly exceeding the group's long-term financial target of 5 percent growth."
The company's stock surged 8 percent to close at euro10.44 ($15.44) on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.
After a strong winter season, Amer saw its highest growth, of 30 percent, in the winter and outdoor sector, with autumn and winter pre-orders "indicating that the strong momentum will continue." The company said that efficiency measures in the section also were expected to have a positive impact on full-year profitability.
CEO Heikki Takala said he was pleased with the continuing improvement.
"Our strong performance which started in 2010 continued in the first quarter. The first quarter was good and a logical part of our long term improvement program," Takala said. "We continue to steer the company toward the long-term targets."
Takala said Amer _ especially the racket sports sector _ was hit by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, adding that the company sees an "ongoing business risk in the country." But he said Amer is committed to driving sustainable, long-term business in Japan.
The Helsinki-based group employed 6,800 people at the end of March _ a 6 percent growth on a year earlier mainly because of hiring more personnel in sales and distribution buoyed by the strong growth.
Company site: http://www.amersports.com