UPDATE 1-Finland's Amer Sports misses first-quarter expectations

Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:04am EDT

(adds detail, analyst comment)

HELSINKI, April 24 (Reuters) - Finnish sporting goods company Amer Sports posted a 22 percent fall in first-quarter operating profit on Thursday, citing reduced demand in Russia and lower sales of winter sports equipment because of warm weather.

Amer Sports, the maker of Wilson tennis rackets and Salomon skis, said its adjusted operating profit in the first three months of the year dropped to 20.6 million euros ($28.5 million) from 26.4 million euros last year, well below an average forecast of 29 million euros in a Reuters poll.

"It was weaker than expected," Nordea analyst Rauli Juva said, singling out disappointing performance in the ball sports segment. Sales there are declining as Amer seeks to improve its margins and shed unprofitable sales.

A mild winter hurt the sales of cross-country skis, Amer said, while the weak Russian economy and the decline in the rouble exchange rate also hurt the company.

"In Russia, we faced challenges due to declining consumer demand and devaluation of the currency, which caused a decline in our EBIT," Chief Executive Heikki Takala said in a statement.

The company reiterated its guidance for increased profit this year.

Shares in the company were down 1.7 percent at 15.04 euros by 1045 GMT. ($1 = 0.7231 Euros) (Reporting by Sakari Suoninen; Editing by Jussi Rosendahl and David Goodman)

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