* Says scraps 5 pct organic sales growth target
* Says margin has higher priority over medium term
(Adds details, background)
STOCKHOLM Feb 14 Garden equipment maker
Husqvarna, which this week reported a
bigger-than-expected quarterly loss, is to focus on improving
profitability and drop a sales growth target, it said on
The group, the world's biggest maker of chainsaws, trimmers,
lawn mowers and garden tractors, on Wednesday reported a fourth
quarter operating loss of 362 million crowns ($57.47 million),
compared with market expectations for a loss of 125 million.
"The group will no longer have a financial target for sales
growth," it said in a statement ahead of a capital markets day
The previous target was for organic sales growth, which
strips out acquisitions, of 5 percent over a business cycle.
"Medium term, initiatives to improve the Group's operating
margin will have higher priority than growth," it added.
Demand for Husqvarna's products is strongly tied to the
weather and seasonality, with demand rising in the second
quarter for spring and summer gardening periods. It has also
expanded into robotic lawnmowers.
Its three other financial targets remained: to achieve an
operating margin of more than 10 percent over the course of a
business cycle, a seasonally adjusted net debt in relation to
EBITDA capped at a multiple of 2.5 in the long term, and that
the dividend normally above 40 percent of income for the year.
It said it aimed to strengthen the operating margin by
reducing costs. It repeated that it aimed to invest around 1
billion crowns to cement its leading position in the global
($1 = 6.2992 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Niklas Pollard, editing by Patrick Lannin)