November 15, 2012 / 9:26 AM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Denmark's GN Store Nord scales back growth forecast

* Third quarter profit in line with expectations

* Lowers organic growth guidance slightly

* Weak Europe hits mobile headset business Netcom (Adds analyst comment, details)

COPENHAGEN, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Denmark’s GN Store Nord trimmed sales growth forecasts for this year, which the hearing aid and mobile headset maker blamed on the UK’s “suppressed” financial sector and weakness in southern Europe.

The company said on Thursday that its mobile headset division N etcom, which accounted for more than a third of total revenue in the quarter, suffered in Europe.

“Europe, GN Netcom’s largest region, was severely impacted by the macroeconomic weakness in southern Europe and the suppressed financial sector in the UK,” it said.

This was partly offset by its headsets business in the United States.

The group, which competes with Swiss group Sonova, Siemens and compatriot William Demant, narrowed its forecast for organic sales growth, which strips out acquisitions, to a range of 4-5 percent from 4-6 percent.

It lowered organic growth guidance for Netcom this year to “around 5 percent” from “around 7 percent”.

“It is weighing on their growth prospects that part of Europe has come to a halt,” said Sydbank analyst Morten Imsgard, adding the overall result was a little below his expectations.

Shares in the company traded down 4.2 percent at 0911 GMT, against a 0.8 percent fall in the Copenhagen stock exchange’s benchmark index.

The group’s underlying third quarter earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) rose to 195 million Danish crowns ($33.28 million) in July-September from 173 million a year earlier, in line with an average forecast of 194 million in a Reuters poll..

The company, which launched a new iPhone-compatible hearing aid line in September, kept guidance for full-year core earnings this year unchanged at a range of 815 million to 875 million crowns.

It also kept its 2013 target for revenue unchanged at more than 6.4 billion crowns and an EBITA margin of around 19 percent.

Earlier this month, rival Sonova posted stronger first-half profits, while William Demant cut its profit forecast for the year due to tough markets. ($1 = 5.8597 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Johan Ahlander and Mette Fraende, editing by Patrick Lannin and Jane Merriman)

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