* Q2 EBITDA up almost 20 percent to 31 million crowns
* Keeps FY forecast for revenue moderately above 2012/13
* Investment in innovation starting to pay off - CEO
* Shares rise 20 percent (Adds comments from CEO and analyst, details, share price)
By Teis Jensen
COPENHAGEN, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Upmarket Danish TV and stereo maker Bang & Olufsen posted a 20 percent jump in quarterly earnings, showing its turnaround efforts are beginning to work and boosting its shares more than 20 percent.
The group, which issued two profit warnings during its 2012/13 financial year, had three months ago reported a hefty first-quarter loss on the back of sluggish European sales, but is fighting back with restructuring efforts, growth in emerging markets and new products.
Earnings before interest and tax grew by almost 20 percent to 31 million crowns in the second quarter from a year before, the company said on Thursday, buoyed by strong sales growth in Brazil, Russia, India and China, as well as in North America.
“The focused investment in innovation is starting to pay off, so we are pleased with that,” Chief Executive Tue Mantoni told a conference call. “We are seeing progress in two overall areas: products and retail”.
The company - which launched its Beolab 17, 18 and 19 wireless speakers in the second quarter - said newly launched products and its cheaper Play brand, targeted at a younger customer group, showed strong performance in the three-month period.
Yet sales in its main European markets remained sluggish and the company still has a major focus on restructuring its distribution network in Europe.
“There are definitely positive elements in the report that show that parts of B&O’s strategy plan is actually working,” Sydbank analyst Soren Lontoft Hansen told Reuters. “But to say they have passed the worst is exaggerated.”
Pretax profit fell by 26 percent to 17 million crowns, hit by negative financial items of 14 million crowns mainly due to currency headwinds as a result of a devaluation of the Czech crown and a weakening of the Hong Kong dollar.
The group kept its full-year forecast for revenue moderately above the 2012/13 level of 2.81 billion crowns and for earnings before interest and tax to be around the break-even level.
Shares in the company, which had slumped to a more than four-year low of 43.4 crowns last month, were up 21 percent at 63.5 crowns by 0942 GMT, still well below a 2006 peak above 381 crowns.
$1 = 5.4891 Danish crowns Additional reporting by Stine Jacobsen and Shida Chayesteh; Editing by David Holmes