By MATTI HUUHTANEN, Associated Press
HELSINKI (AP) — Global sports equipment maker Amer Sports Corp., whose brands include Atomic, Salomon and Wilson, saw first-quarter net profit grow slightly to €18.7 million ($24.7 million) on strong sales of sports clothes.
The Helsinki-based company said Friday that revenue grew 9 percent to €490 million, from €450 million a year earlier. Net profit in the quarter in 2011 was €17 million.
Amer gave an upbeat outlook saying it expects growth and profitability in most sectors, and that it will continue "executing its long-term strategy and sustaining profitable growth," with special focus on apparel, footwear and accessories.
The company's share price surged 10 percent to close at €10.58 ($13.98) on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.
Amer said that fastest growth in the quarter — of 29 percent — was in sports clothing, while footwear revenue increased 13 percent and ball sports by 8 percent.
The company said it expects a decline in pre-orders and profitability in winter sports equipment because of the late and mild past winter season.
"However, the winter sports equipment operational efficiency program which started in 2010 is proceeding ahead of plan and will partially help to mitigate the negative impacts of the expected pre-order decline," Amer said.
"We had a solid start for the year with all business areas progressing towards their targets with the exception of winter sports equipment," CEO Heikki Takala said. "I'm especially pleased by the apparel and footwear driven growth and by the rebounding of our individual ball sports where we made real progress in tennis rackets."
He said that there had been "good growth" in emerging markets in Russia, Latin America and China.
The Helsinki-based company employs some 7,200 people — up from 6,800 last year.
Company site: http://www.amersports.com
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