The Thule Group reported a 13.3 percent increase in sales to 1,955 million Swedish kronor (€205.0m-$241.0m) for the second quarter ended June 30, up by 6.8 percent organically and by 8.6 percent in local currencies. As the first quarter had been very strong, too, the overall growth for the first six months of the year amounted to 15.0 percent.
The gross margin declined by 0.6 percentage points to 42.2 percent, primarily due to a negative currency effect, partly offset by positive changes in the product and customer mix.
Operating income grew by 15.5 percent to SEK €475 million (€49.8m-$58.5m).The underlying operating margin reached a very high level of 24.3 percent, improving by 1.2 percentage points on a currency-neutral basis, thanks to a highly cost-efficient organization, despite higher raw material costs and high investments in product development.
The Swedish company's net income from its continuing operations went up by 14.6 percent to SEK 348 million (€36.5m-$42.9m) as compared to the year-ago period. The results don't include the sale of toolboxes for pick-up trucks, a business that was divested by the group in June. Coupled with the previous spin-off of other operations, the move has rendered the group's operations more streamlined, consisting essentially of its Outdoor & Bags segment, and focused on making it “easier for people to live an active life.”
Sales grew by only 2.0 percent in the Americas region during the quarter and by 4 percent for the first half of the year. They jumped by 12.1 percent on a currency-adjusted basis in Europe and the rest of the world in the quarter, and they were up by 14 percent for the first six months.
The company's innovative bike carriers were among the standout products, along with the Active with Kids line of sport strollers, multisport trailers and child bike seats.
Thule continued to grow in the area of sports bags through the successful launch of new hiking backpacks and bike bags. Sales of bags for electronic devices continued to decline in the U.S., but the management sees several signs indicating a possible turnaround.
The company claimed that it continued to gain market share in an expanding motorhome and caravan market in Europe. It said it is unlikely that the market would continue to grow at the same strong rate during the second half of the year.