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GN Gains as Swedbank Sees Hearing Aid Growth: Copenhagen Mover

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Aug. 6 (Bloomberg) -- GN Store Nord A/S rose the most among benchmark stocks in Copenhagen today after Swedbank Markets said the Nordic region’s second-largest hearing aid maker will succeed in boosting sales and cutting costs.

GN rose as much as 2.2 percent to 119.80 kroner, making it today’s biggest winner in the Nasdaq OMX Copenhagen 20 Index. The stock also traded at that price at 9:39 a.m. in the Danish capital with volume at 12 percent of the three-month daily average.

Swedbank today lifted its recommendation on GN shares to buy from hold after the company last week raised its 2013 sales and profit forecasts. The bank also upgraded its price estimate to 125 kroner from 100 kroner and said GN’s new Verso product will improve the Ballerup, Denmark-based company’s market share in the most expensive segment of the hearing aid industry.

“The combination of strong top-line growth, improving margins, solid cost savings and support from the Versa launch is attractive,” Johan Unnerus, an analyst at the Stockholm-based bank, said in a note to clients. “The market presence suggests that GN is back as a premium global supplier and is in a better position to compete at the high-end and the mid-range of the market as demand gradually returns.”

GN said July 29 that sales at hearing aid unit Resound will grow more than 7 percent this year compared with a previous growth forecast of as little as 4 percent, excluding the effect of acquisitions. GN, which also owns a headset unit, raised its 2013 operating profit forecast for Resound to more than 825 million kroner ($147 million) from as little as 775 million kroner previously, when adjusting for restructuring costs.

GN, which is due to report second-quarter earnings on Aug. 14, has missed analyst net income estimates in 11 of the last 14 quarters, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Next week’s report “should provide more detailed feedback on price pressure, consumer behavior, the impact from reduced subsidies and the gradually increasing support from emerging markets,” Unnerus said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christian Wienberg in Copenhagen at cwienberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tasneem Brogger at tbrogger@bloomberg.net

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