HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish sporting goods company Amer Sports, the maker of Wilson tennis rackets and Salomon skis, reported fourth quarter sales and operating profit below market expectations as it felt the effects of retail bankruptcies in the United States.
Amer said it would start a new cost-cutting programme in response to difficult market conditions. The company has enjoyed growth in recent years with a focus on China, sports apparel businesses as well as investments in distribution.
Fourth-quarter sales were down 2 percent in local currencies year-on-year, partly because the market for winter sports had peaked in the previous quarter.
Amer said it would expand its on-going restructuring program and trim expenses worth about 30 million euros ($32 million) in the next two years.
"As the market is challenging, we adjust our short-term growth ambitions and elevate our focus on profit, cash and asset efficiency," Chief Executive Heikki Takala said in a statement, adding that the company had also postponed some planned launches last year.
Shares in the company fell more than 7 percent at one point and traded 5.7 percent lower at 1420 GMT.
Fourth-quarter adjusted operating profit fell to 81 million euros ($87 million) from 84 million a year earlier, clearly missing an average forecast of 90 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Full-year sales grew 4 percent to 2.6 billion euros and underlying operating profit improved 5 percent to 222 million euros.
($1 = 0.9358 euros)
Reporting by Tuomas Forsell; Editing by Jussi Rosendahl and Keith Weir