UPDATE 2-B&O warns on profit again after Europe sales hit

Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:03am EDT

* Cuts 2012/13 revenue outlook to 2.80 bln to 2.90 bln DKK

* Cuts EBIT guidance to a loss of 150 mln to 200 mln DKK

* European sales a lot worse than expected

* Shares drop as much as 18 pct

By Mette Fraende

COPENHAGEN, March 22 (Reuters) - Bang & Olufsen issued its second profit warning in two months on Friday as European sales of luxury stereos and televisions took a bigger-than-expected hit, casting doubt on its long-term outlook.

Shares fell as much as 18 percent after the Danish company said it expected revenue for the 2012/13 financial year to be between 2.80 billion and 2.90 billion Danish crowns ($502.97 million), down from its previous forecast of more than 3 billion crowns.

The European debt crisis and the resulting weakness in consumer spending have hit the luxury good sector, and B&O said strong sales in China and other emerging markets failed to offset the drop in European sales in the last six months.

"There is something in the market which, particularly in the last six months, has gone a lot worse," Chief Executive Tue Mantoni told Reuters.

"We are talking primarily in Europe and in the market in which we operate, television, electronics and luxury products," Mantoni added.

British luxury brand Mulberry also issued its second profit warning in six months on Friday, partly blaming reduced tourist spending in London stores and sending its shares plunging.

B&O shares have lost 22 percent since the start of this year after the group issued its first profit warning January and its second-quarter pretax profit landed well below analysts' forecasts.

In January the company cuts its forecast of double digit growth in 2012/13 sales and said revenue would exceed 3.0 billion crowns.

On Friday it changed its outlook for earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to a loss of 150 million to 200 million crowns, having previously forecast a positive EBIT. The cost of store closures in Europe and openings in China also weighed on profits, it said.

Mantoni said the group remained confident in its ability to reach revenue of 8 billion to 10 billion Danish crowns in 2017 from 3.0 billion in 2011/2012.

Analysts were doubtful, however.

"If revenue should grow from 3 billion crowns to 9 billion in four years, you have to grow by 30 percent per year," said Sydbank analyst Soren Lontoft.

"I question that, as it is many years ago since they had two-digit growth," Lontoft said.

Alm Brand analyst Jesper Christensen said the target was not realistic: "There is nothing to indicate that (European sales) will change, even if the closure of shops stabilises at some point."

NEW STORES IN CHINA

B&O signed a deal with a Chinese partner in January to open more than 50 new stores in the country as it tries to focus on growth markets such as Brazil and China and become less dependent on Europe.

It also said in January it would close up to 125 stores in Europe in the coming 12-18 months.

Mantoni said the group was accelerating the closures to complete them within six months. It closed 80 shops in the third quarter alone, he said.

"We must do what is right for the business in the long term, even if this will hurt in the short term," Mantoni said.

The new EBIT guidance included an expected hit of more than 100 million crowns from higher amortisation and lower capitalisation, B&O said.

The group would incur non-recurring costs of 40 million crowns during the financial year, mainly relating to organisational changes and network restructuring.

Shares in Bang & Olufsen were down 13.1 percent at 53 crowns at 1137 GMT against a 1.1 percent fall in the Copenhagen stock exchange's mid-cap index.

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