STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Electrolux reported on Wednesday a bigger jump than expected in quarterly operating profit on the back of the stay-at-home trend caused by the pandemic, but predicted demand would start to normalize during the second half of the year.
First-quarter operating profit at Europe's biggest home appliances maker grew to 2.30 billion Swedish crowns ($274.2 million) from a year-earlier 122 million. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had on average forecast a 1.45 billion crown profit.
Earnings in the year-ago quarter were unusually weak amid restructuring in North America and the impact of the initial outbreak of the pandemic on supply chains and demand.
The group, which in March last year spun off its Electrolux Professional unit, said visibility remained limited due to the pandemic but that it expected demand growth to be positive for the full year for most markets, with the exception of Latin America.
"We continue to expect demand for the first half of 2021 to exceed normal seasonal levels across our main markets, driven by increased home-improvement spending by consumers and retailers’ inventory replenishment," Chief Executive Jonas Samuelson said.
"However, capacity and electronic component availability will remain constraining factors into the second half," he said in a statement.
($1 = 8.3881 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard)