* Q4 like-for-like sales up 4 pct vs forecast 3 pct
* Core profit in line with forecast
* Proposes dividend of 5.7 SEK/share vs forecast 5.5 SEK
STOCKHOLM, Feb 7 Assa Abloy, the
world's biggest lockmaker, posted slightly stronger than
expected like-for-like fourth-quarter sales on the back of
strong growth in North America and its expanding portfolio of
The maker of locks under brands such as Yale has seen demand
pick up in recent quarters, not least in the United States,
where the housing market looks to have shifted into higher gear
after a lingering slump linked to the 2008/09 financial crisis.
The Swedish company, a rival to Ingersoll-Rand and
Stanley Black & Decker, said organic sales grew 4
percent in the final months of last year, beating market
expectations of 3 percent.
"My judgment is that the world economy is slowly on the way
to improving, although still affected by the budget cutbacks
that many countries are making," Chief Executive Johan Molin
said in a statement.
"Our strategy therefore remains unchanged, to reduce our
dependence on mature markets and to expand strongly in the
emerging markets, which are expected to go on growing well."
Assa Abloy said that earnings before interest and tax,
excluding one-off items, rose to 2.2 billion crowns ($338.7
million) from 2.03 billion a year earlier. The average forecast
in a Reuters poll of analysts was for 2.22 billion crowns.
The company also said it would propose a dividend of 5.70
crowns per share for 2013, up from 5.10 crowns a year earlier
and above the 5.52 crowns forecast by analysts.