Standard & Poor’s Global has upgraded its ratings for Amer Sports, largely echoing the positive comments made last month by Moody’s. S&P sees Amer’s growth accelerating to 20 percent in 2022 from 15 percent in 2021, followed by mid-single-digit increases in 2023 and 2024, thanks in part to investments in e-commerce and the establishment of between 40 and 50 new stores each year, mainly in China and the U.S.

It also assumes that the group’s adjusted debt/Ebitda ratio declined to almost 9.0 times last year from 12.5 times in 2020, and that it will go down further to a ratio of between 7 and 8 times in 2022, in spite of increased input costs and logistical constraints. The sale of Precor helped pay down some of its debt, and the pending sale of Suunto will improve margins.

According to the agency, Amer reached an adjusted Ebitda margin of between 12.0 and 12.5 percent in 2021, compared with 11.8 percent in 2020. It also enjoyed a 15 percent increase in total revenues to €2.5 billion in the past year, with a 20 percent increase for its continuing operations, pulling its turnover up to 8 percent above pre-pandemic levels on a comparable basis.

Sales of relatively profitable footwear and apparel items – mainly under the Salomon, Arc’teryx and Peak Performance brands – accounted for about 55 percent of Amer’s sales in 2021, said S&P, predicting that a more favorable product mix could help the group achieve an adjusted operating margin of close to 13 percent in 2022.

Sales in China have come to represent about 12 percent of Amer’s sales, up from 4 percent two years earlier, thanks to the support of Anta Sports Products, whose share of the domestic market has risen to close to 16 percent, according to S&P.

The agency raised its rating for the group to B from B-, assuming that Amer is getting support from the consortium controlled by Anta that took of the company in 2019. S&P also upgraded its ratings for Amer’s €1.7 billion senior secured term loan B and its €315 million revolving credit facility.