Hans Linnarson, President and CEO:
“Market conditions in Europe weakened significantly in the fourth quarter. Due to the macroeconomic uncertainty, trade partners were cautious about building inventory for the coming season. Sales of seasonal products such as snow throwers and chainsaws declined mainly as a result of the weak consumer demand. Sales were also negatively impacted by delays in some recently launched handheld products. Operating income was negatively affected by the lower sales volume, as well as product and sales channel mix.
For Americas, sales of forest and garden products were slightly lower in the quarter, which mainly was a result of soft demand for snow throwers. Although the operating loss for Americas decreased during the year, the work with measures to further improve the result continues.
Construction continued to benefit from a positive development in North America. Operating income for the business area continued to improve, although sales in the quarter declined due to falling demand in markets outside of North America.
The Group enters the new season well prepared, as retail listings with our main trade partners are on satisfactory levels.
Today the Group announced a SEK 1bn investment in core technologies. The investment in manufacturing of chainsaw chain and cylinders will further strengthen our leading position in chainsaws. By expanding into saw chain, we are also creating an opportunity to grow in the replacement part market, as chains represent the biggest aftermarket category.
The near-term demand outlook for North America is positive, while the European markets are expected to remain challenging as the macroeconomic uncertainty remains. The cost structure improvement initiative which was announced in November is progressing according to plan and will support earnings in 2013.”
- Net sales amounted to SEK 4,476m (4,994). Adjusted for exchange rate effects, net sales declined -8%.
- Operating income amounted to SEK -618m (-236). Excluding items affecting comparability, referring to already announced costs for staff reductions, operating income amounted to SEK -362m (-236).
- Operating cash flow amounted to SEK -451m (-144).
- Earnings per share amounted to SEK -0.87 (-0.39).
- Net sales amounted to SEK 30,834m (30,357). Adjusted for exchange rate effects, net sales were unchanged.
- Operating income increased to SEK 1,615m (1,551). Excluding items affecting comparability, operating income increased to 1,871m (1,615).
- Operating cash flow improved to SEK 1,144m (-472).
- Earnings per share increased to SEK 1.78 (1.73).
- The Board proposes a dividend of SEK 1.50 (1.50) per share for 2012.
A telephone conference, hosted by Hans Linnarson, President and CEO, and Ulf Liljedahl, CFO, will be held at 10:00 CET on February 13, 2013. To participate by phone, please Dial +46 (0) 8 5052 0110 (Sweden) or +44 (0)20 7162 0077 (UK) ten minutes prior to the start of the conference. The conference call will also be audio cast live on www.husqvarnagroup.com/ir. A replay will be available at www.husqvarnagroup.com/ir later the same day.
Ulf Liljedahl, CFO, +46 8 738 94 42
Tobias Norrby, Investor Relations Manager, +46 8 738 93 35
Corporate Media Office, +46 8 738 90 80