Amer Sports to accelerate “consumer-led transformation”, outlines growth update

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Amer Sports Corporation has updated the company’s 2020 growth target, prioritizing sustainable, profitable growth and business to consumer advances.

The company targets annual mid-single digit organic, currency-neutral growth instead of the previous target of EUR 3.5 billion by 2020. The change reflects the challenging wholesale market in the US, the firm outlined in today’s update. The company will continue to focus on its five strategic priorities (Apparel and Footwear, Business to Consumer, China, US, and Connected Devices and Services) whilst accelerating its consumer-led transformation. Amer Sports Board of Directors has decided on adjustments to the Performance Share Plan for the Company’s management, originally announced in December 2015, to be in line with the new strategic glidepath.

Amer Sports’ updated financial targets are:

  • Net sales: mid-single digit organic, currency-neutral annual growth
  • Profit (unchanged): Annual EBIT growth (excl. items affecting comparability, IAC) ahead of net sales growth
  • Cash flow conversion (unchanged): Free cash flow / net profit at least 80%
  • Net debt / EBITDA (unchanged): Year-end net debt / EBITDA ratio max 3x

Compared to the previous financial targets set in 2016, the updated targets focus on profitable growth, with priority on profitability. The previous growth target was to reach a net sales of EUR 3.5 billion by 2020, with minimum mid-single digit organic, currency-neutral annual growth. Other financial targets are unchanged.

Amer Sports President and CEO Heikki Takala: “The US wholesale market continues to be challenged, and whilst demand for our brands continues to be strong and we largely outperform the market, it causes a gap versus our growth target. Our building blocks are robust and the majority of our strategic programs are delivering well, most notably Footwear and Apparel, Business to Consumer, and China, and we continue to drive our consumer-led transformation with confidence. In the US wholesale context, we rebalance our growth vs. profit, prioritizing profitability and cash to deliver strong shareholder returns.”

RESTRUCTURING AS FURTHER ENABLER FOR TRANSFORMATION AND PRODUCTIVITY
In February 2017 Amer Sports expanded the cost restructuring program initiated in August 2016, with the objective to reduce operating expenses worth approximately 100 EBIT margin basis points by the end of 2018, with full impact of approximately EUR 30 million annually from 2019 onwards. Restructuring expenses will be approximately EUR 45 million (pre-tax, reported under “Items affecting comparability”), recognized in the second half of 2017 and first half of 2018. The cash flow impact will be approximately EUR 25 million. The first part of the restructuring program announced in August 2016 has been successfully completed.

2017 OUTLOOK MAINTAINED
Amer Sports outlook for 2017 is unchanged. In 2017, Amer Sports’ net sales in local currencies are expected to increase from 2016, despite short-term market softness. EBIT excl. IAC is expected to be approximately at the level of 2016. The growth in 2017 is expected to be biased to the second half of the year.

To align the Company incentive programs to the updated financial targets and strategic glidepath, Amer Sports Board of Directors has decided on adjustments to the Performance Share Plan 2016 for the Company’s key personnel, announced in December 2015. The updated long term incentive program ensures that the performance of the company management is tied to the strategy and targets, and that strategic continuity and retention of key management is further safeguarded.

The Plan comprises a three-year performance period covering the period of 2018-2020, instead of one-year performance periods. The performance targets will be net sales growth and EBIT margin for the earning period 2018-2020. The potential share reward payable based on the plan will be paid in the spring 2021, provided that the performance targets for the plan are achieved. The potential reward will be paid in listed shares of Amer Sports Corporation, added with a cash portion to cover the taxes and tax-like items payable by the participants on the reward.

The Plan is directed to key personnel of approximately 340 persons, including the members of the Group Executive Board. If the performance targets set for the period 2018-2020 are fully achieved, the aggregate maximum number of shares to be paid under the plan is 650,000 shares.

The Board of Directors anticipates that no new shares need to be issued based on the plan and that the plan will, therefore, have no dilutive effect on the registered number of the company’s shares.

Further information about the Performance Share Plan 2016 and the related adjustments is available here.

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