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Samsonite interim profits hit record, powered by travel demand, Asia and North America

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2012, 1:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2012, 1:06pm

 US luggage maker Samsonite on Tuesday posted record first-half sales, boosted by strong global travel demand as well as growth in Asia and North America.

The firm, which makes suitcases, casual bags and other travel products, said profit for the six months to June 30 jumped 263 per cent to US$90.1 million, up from US$24.8 million during the same period a year ago.

Net sales rose 13.8 per cent to a record US$846.7 million, it said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where the US firm has been listed since June last year.

“This has been an encouraging first half of 2012, against a backdrop of uneven trading conditions across our major markets,” Samsonite chairman Timothy Charles Parker said.

Sales in Asia grew 21.3 per cent in the first half, driven by a “growing market of new potential customers among emerging middle class consumers keen on travel and eager for quality, branded luggage,” Samsonite said.

Net sales in the US rose 27.7 per cent while in the European market, they fell two per cent as the ongoing eurozone crisis affected sentiment.
“It remains hard to predict the outcome for the remainder of the year,” the chairman said.

“Uncertainties created by the eurozone crisis and the expectation, often unduly pessimistic, of lower growth rates for the Chinese economy continue to affect consumer sentiment.”

The strong performance failed to excite investors, with the stock trading 3.57 per cent lower at HK$13.50 after the earnings were released.

By listing in Hong Kong, Samsonite has joined a slew of Western brands seeking to use the southern Chinese city to boost their presence in fast-growing Asian markets, particularly China.
 

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