Tarkett raises prices in Russia, Ukraine to offset revenue drop

PARIS, April 17 Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:59am EDT

PARIS, April 17 (Reuters) - French flooring maker Tarkett said it was raising prices in Russia, Ukraine and other CIS countries after toughening economic conditions and weakening currencies in the region dragged down quarterly sales.

The group posted first-quarter sales of 492.9 million euros ($680.5 million), 5.4 percent lower than a year ago, hit by a 12.3 percent drop in revenue in Russia's former soviet republics.

Currencies in the region have tumbled as tensions soar between Russia and the West over the fate of Ukraine. The threat of more sanctions now looms on Moscow as armed pro-Russian separatists seize buildings in eastern Ukraine.

"In the CIS region we are confident in our ability to offset currency devaluations with price increases but we remain cautious on the economic outlook in that region," Tarkett said in a statement on Thursday.

The company said it had already raised prices in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia, where they were hiked by 5 percent at the beginning of the month.

Tarkett said it had performed well in Scandinavia and central Europe and that southern Europe was starting to rebound. However, demand remained weak in France as well as in residential housing in the United States, it said. ($1 = 0.7243 Euros) (Reporting by Natalie Huet; Editing by James Regan)

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