Husqvarna Group last week announced results for first-quarter 2012. Net sales increased by 12 percent to SEK 9.81 billion (about U.S.$1.46 billion) from SEK 8.77 billion (U.S.$1.31 billion) in the first quarter of 2011, on strong sales performance and market share gains for Americas and Construction, and stable development for Europe & Asia/Pacific.
Operating income in the quarter increased to SEK 915 million (U.S. $136.2 million) from SEK 662 million (U.S. $98.6 million). Earnings per share increased to SEK 1.10 (U.S. $0.16) from SEK 0.84 (U.S. $0.12).
“Husqvarna Group delivered a first quarter with higher sales and operating income for all three business areas,” said Hans Linnarson, president and CEO. “We have many new products reaching the market this year, including additional robotic mowers, upgraded riders and a new range of premium consumer products under the McCulloch brand that have been received well by the trade. Together with operational improvements in our supply chain, we capitalized on increased demand.”
The market in the U.S. was favorable, with increased consumer spending on lawn and garden equipment. The overall U.S. economic environment developed positively and the market for outdoor products was also fueled by an early and warm spring. Improved factory delivery performance helped the group to a strong sales development in the first quarter, with market share gains in several areas.
In Europe, the group’s development was stable, which was in line with the market trend. Demand in southern Europe and France was weaker than last year, while demand in Germany and northern Europe had a positive development. The operating margin for Europe & Asia/Pacific remained on the same high level, compared to the previous year’s strong first quarter.
For Construction, the positive development continued. Sales, operating income and margin improved, also primarily driven by a strong U.S. development. In the U.S. market, the near-term outlook is for the stronger demand year-on-year to continue, while the demand outlook for the European market is more difficult to assess.
The Husqvarna Group, Stockholm, Sweden, is a leading producer of outdoor power products including chainsaws, trimmers, lawn mowers and garden tractors. The group is also the European leader in consumer watering products and one of the world leaders in cutting equipment and diamond tools for the construction and stone industries.