Feb 10, 2015
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Kesko Q4 operating profit hurt by Anttila

Feb 10, 2015

COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Finnish retailer Kesko on Tuesday reported a fourth-quarter adjusted operating profit of 62 million euros ($70 million), below average market estimate of 64 million euros, on the back of widening losses at department store chain Anttila.

Net sales at Anttila declined more than 16 percent in the fourth quarter, Kesko said. Profits within the food and car divisions remained good while building and home improvement trade more than doubled its operating profit.

For this year, the retailer expects its net sales to equal those of 2014 at 9.1 billion euros. Kesko's operating profit excluding non-recurring items for 2015 is estimated to equal or fall slightly short of the level of 2014.

"Consumer demand is expected to remain weak in Finland also in the current year. The declined purchasing power is reflected in consumers' choices and price competition is tough in all product lines," Kesko CEO Mikko Helander said.

Kesko said it planned to sell some of its store sites in Finland and Sweden to a joint venture in the first part of 2015. The maximum fair value of those assets is 670 million euros.

Helander said Kesko would be taking new measures regarding Anttila to improve profitability, including the option of selling the department store chain.

"Anttila is a number one issue for us," Helander said.

Kesko proposed a dividend of 1.50 euros per share, above analysts' average forecast of 1.48 euros and 2013's 1.40 euros.

The company's shares were down 2.8 percent at 1049 GMT.

€1 = $1.13/£0.74

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