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WDH Falls as Nordea Sees Competition Squeeze: Copenhagen Mover

William Demant Holding A/S fell to the lowest price in five weeks in Copenhagen after Nordea Equity Research said the biggest Nordic hearing-aid maker may fail to reach its goal of winning market share.

WDH fell as much as 1.2 percent to 511 kroner, the lowest since Sept. 20. The stock declined 1.1 percent to 511.50 kroner at 10:46 a.m. in the Danish capital with 28,813 shares traded. Daily trade has averaged 74,363 shares in the past six months.

WDH needs to sell more low-cost hearing aids to reach its goal of winning market share, Nordea said. Yet the company faces competition in the low-end segment from market leader Sonova Holding AG, which is stepping up its range of more affordable products, according to the bank. Nordea published its report after attending a hearing aid congress this week in Frankfurt, where industry leaders including Sonova and WDH were represented.

WDH’s focus on cheaper hearing aids will hurt profitability, Nordea said. The bank repeated a hold recommendation on the Smoerum, Denmark-based company.

“We continue to expect fierce competition and price pressure for the company in upcoming quarters, until a new product is launched in the first quarter of 2013,” Soeren V. Holm Soerensen, an analyst at Nordea in Copenhagen, said in the note. “We find it difficult for the company to gain significant market share in the wholesale business before new products are brought to the market.”

UBS AG removed WDH from its list of most preferred stocks today, three weeks after adding the company.

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