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Maker of Wilson rackets, Salomon skis sees strong rise in profits as sales grow

Germany's Nicolas Kiefer holds his Wilson racket in Munich, on May 6, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matthias Schrader

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Germany's Nicolas Kiefer holds his Wilson racket in Munich, on May 6, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matthias Schrader

HELSINKI - Sports equipment maker Amer Sports Corp., whose brands include Atomic, Salomon and Wilson, has seen a near sevenfold increase in fourth-quarter profit and a boost in sales mainly due to increased demand for winter sports and fitness equipment. The company's shares surged.

The Helsinki-based company said Tuesday that net profit in the period was 38.7 million euros ($53 million), up from 5.4 million euros a year earlier. Revenue grew 6 per cent to 657 million euros from 619 million euros. When stripping out the impact of changes in currency values, revenue grew 12 per cent.

Amer's share price closed up more than 9 per cent at 15.05 euros on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.

"Amer Sports had a strong momentum in Q4 and we delivered double-digit growth and improved profitability," CEO Heikki Takala said. "Importantly, the growth and improvements were broad-based across business areas, geographical regions, and channels."

Winter and outdoor equipment sales grew 8 per cent in the quarter while fitness sector sales were up 11 per cent.

Amer cautioned that 2014 would "remain challenging" but said it expects to meet a minimum long-term annual 5 per cent growth target during the year.

In the full-year 2013, Amer said it reached all-time high sales with annual growth of 8 per cent and had improved profitability. Its largest sector, winter and outdoor sports, which accounts for 60 per cent of total sales, grew 6 per cent to 1.3 billion euros through 2013. Fitness equipment saw the strongest rise, an 8 per cent increase to nearly 300 million euros.

Amer Sports employs more than 7,300 workers with 217 branded retail stores worldwide.

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