February 14, 2014 / 8:51 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Hearing aid maker GN boosts profits by a third

* Fourth-quarter core profit up 30 pct to 390 mln DKK

* Forecast 2014 core profit of more than 1.33 bln DKK

* Shares up by 2 pct (Adds CFO, analyst comment, background)

COPENHAGEN, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Danish hearing aid and headset maker GN Store Nord increased core earnings by almost 30 percent in the fourth quarter, aided by improved margins in its hearing aid business.

The company, the world’s number four hearing aid manufacturer, cut costs to help to boost its core profit margin to 21 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.

For the full year, it reported a core profit margin of 19 percent, achieving its target set in 2010 to more than double the margin from around 9 percent.

It now aims to increase sales through new products like its hearing aid Resound Linx which allows users to stream voice and music from their iPhones, developed in collaboration with Apple Inc.

“Our launch of the ‘made-for iPhone’ device is unique, and it can provide us with some unique user benefits that will drive good growth in 2014,” chief financial officer Anders Boyer said.

GN forecast 2014 organic revenue growth of more than 8 percent and expects core profit to grow to more than 1.33 billion crowns from 1.28 billion in 2013.

Quarterly earnings before interest, taxation and amortisation rose to 390 million Danish crowns ($71.42 million) from 301 million crowns a year earlier, below an average estimate of 404 million in a Reuters poll..

“The weakening of many foreign currencies is part of the explanation why we miss the analysts’ forecast, but generally seen we are very satisfied,” Boyer told Reuters.

The company also said it would begin a 500 million crowns share buyback. This was smaller than expected by Alm Brand Markets’ analyst Michael Friis Jorgensen.

The board is to propose a dividend of 0.84 crowns per share, versus a forecast of 1.01 crowns in a Reuters poll.

GN shares traded up 2.1 percent by 0823 GMT against a 0.47 percent rise in the Copenhagen stock exchange’s benchmark index . The shares rose to their highest level since 2001 earlier on Friday.

$1 = 5.4603 Danish crowns. Reporting by Stine Jacobsen and Teis Jensen. Editing by Jane Merriman

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