SodaStream warns on results as U.S. sales lose fizz, shares fall

Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:57am EST

Jan 13 (Reuters) - SodaStream International Ltd, a manufacturer of home soda making appliances, estimated 2013 results below its previous forecast due to sluggish U.S. holiday season sales, wiping out a quarter of the company's market value on Monday.

SodaStream said it expected the first half of 2014 to be challenging as lower selling prices and high product costs continued to hurt margins.

At least one brokerage cut its rating on the Israeli company's stock to "neutral" from "buy" following the news.

"We expected some weakness in U.S. sales but are surprised by the magnitude of the company's gross margin and earnings miss," Monness Crespi Hardt analyst wrote in a note to clients.

SodaStream estimated revenue of $562 million and adjusted net income of $52.5 million for the year ended Dec. 31.

In October, the company forecast full-year revenue of $567.2 million and adjusted income of $65 million.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of $55.3 million on revenue of $563.8 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

SodaStream shares fell as much as 23 percent, valuing the company at about $804 million.

The stock was down 22 percent at $38.83 on Monday afternoon on the Nasdaq.

On an average, about 40 percent of the company's shares have been shorted in the past six months, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Investors who sell securities 'short' borrow shares and then sell them, expecting the stock to fall so they can buy the shares back at the lower price, return them to the lender and pocket the difference. (Reporting by Rohit T.K. in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

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