BARCELONA (Reuters) -Spain's Fluidra said on Friday first-half net profit fell 4.5% to 166 million euros ($169.55 million) because of a write-off from a refinancing process and higher debt, though it improved its 2022 sales outlook.
Core earnings at the world's largest swimming pool equipment maker increased 9.3% year on year to 361 million euros while sales grew 22% to 1.4 billion euros, led by the North-American market, due to rising prices amid higher-than-expected inflation and the consolidation of its active M&A activities.
Fluidra's shares rose more than 11% following the earnings release. At 1055 GMT, they were holding gains of 10.3%, while the blue-chip Spanish Ibex was 1.1% up.
Refreshing its 2022 outlook, the Barcelona-based company now expects sales to reach between 2.5 billion and 2.6 billion euros, slightly above prior estimates. However, it slightly lowered its forecast for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to between 600 million and 630 million euros as it said demand was normalising towards pre-pandemic trends.
Fluidra announced the acquisition of Denmark's Swim & Fun, the leading distributor in the Nordic countries, for 21 million euros already paid plus future potential add-ons.
It also launched a buyback programme for up to 3.5 million shares, equivalent to 1.79% of its share capital.
In a note, JP Morgan predicted accelerating growth in the North-American market and greater profitability for Fluidra.
It said the buyback programme should be supportive, but considered the lower EBITDA guidance disappointing. The bank's own estimate is for 642 million euros.
($1 = 0.9790 euros)
(Reporting by Joan Faus, additional reporting by Mariana Ferreira Azevedo;editing by Inti Landauro, Kirsten Donovan)