April 25, 2013 / 6:41 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Bic posts sales and profit decline in Q1

* Cuts targets for APP unit

* Sales, profit lag forecast (Adds additional details)

PARIS, April 25 (Reuters) - French group Bic on Thursday posted falling first-quarter sales and operating profit due to slowing demand for pens and ongoing issues in its promotional products unit.

First-quarter sales fell 3.7 percent to 428.6 million euros ($556.99 million)and lagged the average analysts Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimate of 437.7 million euros.

Operating profit fell 16.5 percent to 66.7 million euros, missing a 78.6 million euro forecast.

Sales in its consumer business fell 2.4 percent, dragged by a drop in pens, while its advertising and promotional products (APP) unit, which sells customised calendars, bags and pens, fell 12 percent.

Bic reiterated that it is aiming for sales growth of 2-to-4 percent in its consumer business and said its full-year margin would be at the higher end of a 15 and 20 percent range it is targetting for the medium term.

The company revised down its targets in its APP unit and said it was expected a low to mid-single digit sales decline compared with a previous forecast for stable to slightly increasing sales.

APP sales fell 10 percent last year due to customer service issues, shipment delays and lack of demand in Southern Europe and the unit’s margin was 2.5 times lower than in consumer business. ($1 = 0.7695 euros) (Reporting by Alice Cannet; editing by Blaise Robinson and Christian Plumb)

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