Home appliance group Gorenje saw its operations make a loss of EUR 2.1m in the first quarter of the year, as sales were hit by the weak economic conditions in Ukraine and Russia and a rise in the US dollar.

Group revenues stood at EUR 266.4m in the three months through March, which is a 8.4% decline on the same period last year, the group said in an earnings release through the Ljubljana Stock Exchange on Friday.

Important markets of Ukraine and Russia were severely affected by the fighting in Ukraine and the economic slowdown in Russia, while the depreciation of the euro against the US hit profit margins on small household appliances and affected raw material prices.

The group responded by reducing its headcount by around 209, about 2% of the total workforce, compared to the first quarter last year. Earlier in May, 136 staff in Slovenia were temporarily laid off until the situation on the Russia and Ukrainian market improves.

The group is also focusing on optimising input costs and production processes and insuring currency risk in order to respond to the prevailing conditions.

The group saw an increase in sales in Eastern Europe, Netherlands and Australia.

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