Tiffany cuts outlook after Dutch court ruling

ZURICH Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:57pm EST

A Swatch Scuba Playero wrist watch is displayed in a shop in Zurich July 23, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

A Swatch Scuba Playero wrist watch is displayed in a shop in Zurich July 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Tiffany & Co (TIF.N) on Sunday cut its full-year outlook following a Dutch court ruling that it must pay Swatch Group (UHR.VX) 402 million Swiss francs ($448.79 million) in damages.

The ruling came in a lawsuit following the end of a collaboration between the two groups. The Netherlands Arbitration Institute sentenced Tiffany to pay Swatch damages after it pressed claims against the U.S. jeweler in December 2011, the world's largest watchmaker said in a statement on Sunday.

Tiffany's said it would record a fourth-quarter charge of $295 million to $305 million as a result of the ruling. It lowered its full-year earnings outlook range to $2.30 a share to $2.35 a share from a previous estimate of $3.65 a share to $3.75 a share.

Michael Kowalski, the chief executive of the luxury retailer, said in a statement that he was "shocked and extremely disappointed" with the court ruling and that the company was reviewing its options.

Tiffany's said it would fund the award from immediately available cash on hand and funds from existing debt facilities, and that it didn't expect the ruling to impact its short or long-term business plans.

Swatch said the court had integrally dismissed a counter-claim filed by Tiffany in March 2012.

Swatch and Tiffany had struck an agreement to develop watches under the Tiffany brand together in 2008, but Swatch terminated the partnership in 2011, blaming Tiffany for blocking and delaying development of the business.

Shares of Tiffany's closed Friday at $90.62.

($1 = 0.8958 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz and Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Christopher Wilson)

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