October 24, 2018 / 8:46 AM / a month ago

Pen maker BIC's shares surge on third-quarter rebound

FILE PHOTO: Pens made by BIC are seen on racks at a Carrefour hypermarket in Nice, France, April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

(Reuters) - Shares in BIC (BICP.PA) surged more than 10 percent on Wednesday after the maker of ballpoint pens, razors and lighters reported a stronger-than-expected rebound in third quarter sales.

The French company, which has been hit by strong competitive pressure from the likes of Wilkinson Sword-maker Edgewell Personal Care (EPC.N) and Gillette and a slowdown in Brazil, said third quarter net sales rose 5.2 percent on a comparative basis to 477.5 million euros (421.69 million pounds).

Analysts in a company-compiled poll had on average expected third quarter sales of 474.4 million euros.

“The situation in the third quarter has improved, there was a good back-to-school period, razors are stabilising in the U.S. and growth is positive again in Brazil,” said Bryan Garnier analyst Cedric Rossi.

The company confirmed its guidance for the full year, targeting an increase in group net sales of 1-3 percent on a comparative basis and an operating margin of 17-18 percent.

“We remain committed to our outlook for the full year as we continue to invest in growth opportunities and drive operational effectiveness,” Chief Executive Gonzalve Bich said in a statement.

Reporting by Clement Martinot in Gdynia, writing by Alan Charlish in Gdynia; Editing by Susan Fenton

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