Toolmaker Husqvarna profit jumps as pandemic boosts gardening season
Sales climbs 14% in the traditionally slow quarter
To reduce staff and accelerate growth initiatives
Adds detail, background
STOCKHOLM, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Profits at world no.1 gardening power tools maker Husqvarna HUSQb.ST more than doubled from a year earlier in the July-September period as a pandemic-induced stay-at-home trend boosted demand.
The Swedish group reported on Tuesday a forecast-beating operating profit of 997 million crowns ($113 million) for its usually relatively slow third quarter. This compared with a year-ago 414 million and a mean forecast in a Refinitiv poll of analysts of 863 million.
Sales grew 14% with solid development across all divisions and key regions and particularly strong growth in the robotics, battery and watering categories, Husqvarna said in a statement.
Husqvarna had flagged in September that sales in July through August jumped 21% from a year earlier as the pandemic helped extend the gardening season through to late August.
The global leader in robotic lawn mowers, garden watering systems and garden tractors traditionally does the bulk of business towards the end of the first quarter and in the second, ahead of and during the normal peak gardening season in the northern hemisphere.
It said on Tuesday it would reduce its workforce by around 350 positions to cut costs by 500 million crowns, with full effect from 2023, of which half would be spent on accelerating growth initiatives. The measures would cost around 880 million crowns, most of which would be booked in the fourth quarter, it said.
($1 = 8.8271 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard)
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