* Q1 EBITA 253 mln DKK below 273 mln forecast in poll
* Capped by tough comparison in headset unit - analyst
* Keeps full-year 2014 outlook unchanged (Adds comments from CFO and analyst, details)
COPENHAGEN, May 2 (Reuters) - Danish hearing aid and headset maker GN Store Nord on Friday reported weaker-than-expected first-quarter core earnings partly due to a tough year-on-year comparison for the company’s headset business GN Netcom.
A ban in China on hand-held telephones while driving caused a 39 percent jump in organic revenue growth for GN Netcom’s headsets in the country in first quarter last year, but this effect has now slowed.
Revenues at the headset business grew 4 percent in the first quarter this year compared to 20 percent growth in the same quarter last year.
“There are some problems with comparing the numbers due to extraordinary sale of headset in China last year,” Sydbank analyst Morten Imsgard said.
“The shares could come under pressure today after both top line and bottom line disappoint,” Imsgard said.
The company’s hearing aids arm, the world’s fourth-biggest hearing aid manufacturer, reported 7 percent revenue growth, mainly driven by its new hearing aid developed in collaboration with Apple Inc, which allows users to stream voice and music from their iPhones.
“We almost feel we have seen the impossible, something as boring as a hearing aid, which has excited public interest this much,” chief financial officer Anders Boyer, told Reuters.
Quarterly before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) fell to 253 million Danish crowns ($47 million) from 258 million crowns a year earlier, below an average estimate of 273 million crowns in a Reuters poll..
The company, which competes with Swiss group Sonova , Germany’s Siemens and compatriot William Demant, said it was keeping 2014 EBITA guidance of more than 1.33 billion crowns, and organic revenue growth of more than 8 percent. ($1 = 5.3830 Danish crowns)
Reporting by Stine Jacobsen, additional reporting by Ole Mikkelsen; Editing by Matt Driskill and Jane Merriman