June 8, 2020 / 6:17 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 2-Husqvarna sees sales recovery as pandemic restrictions ease

* Says demand is improving

* Currency-adjusted sales down 12% in April-May

* Sees 10% drop in Q2 sales vs 20% fall seen by analysts (Adds shares, analyst comment, background)

By Johannes Hellstrom

STOCKHOLM, June 8 (Reuters) - Husqvarna, the world’s biggest gardening power tools maker, said on Monday that second-quarter sales are likely to drop considerably less than analysts expect as COVID-19 restrictions are eased in many countries.

The global leader in robotic lawn mowers and garden watering systems expects sales to fall 10% in the second quarter from a year earlier if the current recovery trend continues. That compares to a 20% drop forecast by analysts, according to data from Refinitiv.

“In light of eased restrictions and an increased interest in gardening categories, especially watering products, market conditions have improved,” Husqvarna said in a statement.

Shares of the Swedish group had risen 1.1% by 0823 GMT to stand unchanged from their level at the start of 2020.

Analysts at DNB said in a research note that large upgrades to earnings estimates were warranted due to strong developments in high-profit areas such as irrigation products.

After reporting a 11% decline in first-quarter sales, Husqvarna’s CEO said in April that he expected the April-June period to be even grimmer.

Husqvarna said on Monday that currency-adjusted sales for April-May had dropped around 12% versus a year earlier, with around 10% of its trade partners currently affected by lockdown measures, compared to 25% at the start of the second quarter.

Husqvarna will report second-quarter earnings on July 16. (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; Editing by Simon Johnson, Niklas Pollard, Kirsten Donovan)

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