Leading Dutch sports footwear and equipment manufacturer Head NV on Wednesday blamed lower sales of winter products and diving equipment for slight falls in fourth quarter and full-year revenues.

The company posted a 2.2 per cent fall in fourth quarter sales to $128 million from $130.9m in the year-ago period, while for the 12 months ended December 31, total revenues dipped 1.7 per cent to $392m from $398.6m in 2000.

At comparable exchange rates, total revenues decreased by $1.2m or 0.3 per cent. That was mainly caused by lower sales of winter products and diving equipment, while earnings per share for the twelve month period were $0.25, compared to $0.99 for the same period in 2000.

Chairman and CEO, Johan Eliasch, said: "Overall, I would best summarise 2001 as a year in which we took some important steps to position Head for the future. We restructured our footwear business with a licensing agreement, we established our UK distribution business and invested in automating manufacturing processes. We expect all of these to have a positive impact on our business for 2002 and beyond."

He added: "Our sales performed roughly in line with last year's sales, despite a weak global economy. For 2002, we expect to see modest revenue growth in local currencies.

"We believe our balance sheet to be strong with relatively low gearing and ample liquidity to run our business for the long term."