Amer Sports makes strong Q4 profit as sales grow

HELSINKI (AP) — Sports equipment maker Amer Sports Corp., whose brands include Atomic, Salomon and Wilson, has seen a near sevenfold increase in fourth-quarter profit and a boost in sales mainly due to increased demand for winter sports and fitness equipment. The company's shares surged.

The Helsinki-based company said Tuesday that net profit in the period was 38.7 million euros ($53 million), up from 5.4 million euros a year earlier. Revenue grew 6 percent to 657 million euros from 619 million euros. When stripping out the impact of changes in currency values, revenue grew 12 percent.

Amer's share price closed up more than 9 percent at 15.05 euros on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. "Amer Sports had a strong momentum in Q4 and we delivered double-digit growth and improved profitability," CEO Heikki Takala said. "Importantly, the growth and improvements were broad-based across business areas, geographical regions, and channels."

Winter and outdoor equipment sales grew 8 percent in the quarter while fitness sector sales were up 11 percent. Amer cautioned that 2014 would "remain challenging" but said it expects to meet a minimum long-term annual 5 percent growth target during the year.

In the full-year 2013, Amer said it reached all-time high sales with annual growth of 8 percent and had improved profitability. Its largest sector, winter and outdoor sports, which accounts for 60 percent of total sales, grew 6 percent to 1.3 billion euros through 2013. Fitness equipment saw the strongest rise, an 8 percent increase to nearly 300 million euros.

Amer Sports employs more than 7,300 workers with 217 branded retail stores worldwide.

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