UPDATE 1-GN Store Nord sees higher margins after restructuring

Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:02am EST

* Sees 2013 EBITA margin of 19 pct vs 9.9 pct in 2012

* Sees 2013 organic revenue growth 9-12 pct

* Q4 EBITA below market expectations

* Shares up 3 pct

COPENHAGEN, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Danish hearing aid maker GN Store Nord forecast higher profit margins this year after cutting costs and developing new devices, such as those compatible with Apple's iPhone.

It forecast organic revenue growth of 9-12 percent this year and said it would target an EBITA margin of 19 percent, up from 9.9 percent in 2012.

The company's shares rose 3 percent as the strong outlook helped investors look beyond weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter results.

Consolidated earnings before interest, taxation and amortisation (EBITA) fell to 301 million crowns ($54 million) from 878 million a year earlier.

The company said cost cuts, including consolidation of U.S. manufacturing sites, were progressing as planned.

Jyske analyst Janne Vincent Kjaer said the company's Netcom unit, which specialises in wireless headsets used in offices and with mobile phones, was doing better than she expected.

"I had feared for the worst because the macroeconomic situation in southern Europe has been quite severe," she said.

The company has recently overhauled its product line, aiming to grow faster than the overall market for hearing devices. Some of the new products work with wireless technology, including hearing aids that can be controlled from iPhones.

It said the hearing aid market would likely continue growing by 5 percent a year as populations in developed countries aged, and as more hearing-impaired people begin wearing aids thanks to better and more discreet products.

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