(Adds detail, background)
* Expects to outgrow the market
* Sees 2013 EBIT above 2012
* Plans share buyback
COPENHAGEN, Feb 26 Danish hearing aid maker
William Demant expects to grow market share this year
thanks to a new high-end device, after its 2012 results missed
expectations on sluggish sales and falling profit margins.
The firm, which has struggled with an ageing product mix,
hopes several new products launched this year - particularly the
Oticon Alta - will make up for a weak close to 2012, as initial
market reaction has been positive, it said on Tuesday.
"In 2013, we expect organic revenue growth in our wholesale
of hearing aids to exceed market growth rates by 3-5 percentage
points in local currencies and thus expect to continue to
increase our market share," the firm said.
"In 2013, corporate operating profit is expected to exceed
the level realised in 2012."
The firm ended 2012 on a weak note, missing its already
lowered guidance as rivals, like GN Store and Sonova
lured customers away with newer products.
For the full year, William Demant's operating profit fell to
1.65 billion Danish crowns ($292.2 million) from 1.71 billion
the year before, missing analysts' expectation for 1.7 billion.
William Demant shares, down 3 percent over the last 12
months, are valued below peers, reflecting uncertainty whether
its new products will help to restore its fortunes.
It trades at an enterprise value to EBIDTA (earnings before
interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of around 12.5-13,
below GN Store's 13-13.5 and Sonova's ratio above 14.
To improve shareholder returns, it plans to buy back shares
using surplus cash flow and keep net interest-bearing debt at
around 1.5-2.0 billion crowns.
($1 = 5.6464 Danish crowns)
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Mark Potter)