Sports equipment maker Amer Sports Corp. said its losses narrowed 27% in the second quarter, due to a pickup in sales.

The net loss in the quarter totaled €16.9 million ($22.3 million), compared with a loss of €23.2 million a year earlier.

Revenue increased by 12% to €317.5 million from €284.7 million in the second quarter 2009, while sales in local currencies increased by 5%.

The company, which has described 2009 as the worst year in a decade, said the sporting goods market is expected to recover moderately, but with significant regional and sports area specific differences. For the full year 2010 the company expects net sales to reach around €1.7 billion.

Formerly Finland's largest cigarette maker, Amer sold its tobacco operations in 2004 to focus on fitness and sports equipment. It has divested noncore assets and bought several sports equipment makers, including California-based Fitness Products International and Sparks, Nevada-based ATEC, a leading maker of baseball and softball pitching machines.

CEO Heikki Takala said sales in the second quarter increased particularly in the apparel, footwear, team sports and golf segments and pre-orders of winter sports equipment are up by around 15%.

“In the second quarter, we continued to execute successfully our key programs to increase growth and profitability to target levels,” he said in a statement.

“Despite the positive developments, we still have a way to go to reach our target performance levels,” he added.

Takala said operating margins improved in all the company's business segments in the second quarter, except in Fitness, where particularly the U.S. market remained sluggish.

The company said overall sales rose by 11% in both the Americas and in the Europe Middle East and Africa region, while sales in Asia Pacific increased by 15%.

Based in Helsinki, Amer Sports employs some 6,450 people.