(Adds confirmation from Pandora, comment from legal firm, share price, details)
COPENHAGEN, July 31 (Reuters) - A group of shareholders sued jewellery maker Pandora for compensation, claiming they lost money because it had issued a profit warning too late, and their move sent its shares down as much as 6.3 percent on Thursday.
Pandora’s August 2011 profit warning prompted a 65 percent drop in its shares on the day, slashing its market capitalisation by 12 billion Danish crowns ($2.2 billion). The Danish company had listed in October 2010.
The warning is already under investigation by the Danish public prosecutor for possible economic crimes.
A group of 36 Danish and international investors, represented by Belgian law firm Deminor, said Pandora should have reacted to internal sales figures earlier.
“Our clients think the profit warning had been issued too late, and therefore the (share) purchases they made in a certain timeframe preceding the profit warning were made on the basis of inflated prices,” Deminor partner Erik Bomans told Reuters.
“So they claim compensation for the losses they have suffered on those purchases,” he said. The losses could have been as high as 50 million euros, although a figure of 20-30 million euros was more realistic, he said.
Pandora confirmed in an email to Reuters the company had been sued but declined further comment.
Pandora shares were down about 5 percent at 374.90 crowns at 1048 GMT, after falling as much as 6.3 percent.
The lawsuit was filed at the Glostrup district court on July 18 but was not reported until Thursday. Chief Executive Allan Leighton, who was chairman at the time, was also sued.
Last November the public prosecutor for serious economic crime charged Pandora with breaching the Danish Securities Trading Act, saying the company should have published revenue guidance in July.
Reacting to the indictment, Pandora said then it had “acted properly during a swift and unexpected downturn in sales” and that it “at all times (has) been in full compliance with all relevant rules and regulations for issuers of shares”. ($1 = 5.5663 Danish Crowns) (Reporting by Teis Jensen; Editing by Sabina Zawadzki and Jane Baird)