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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pandora Q2 Sales Down in Key Markets, Downgrades Outlook, CEO Resigns, Company Blames Price Increases and Poor Execution



Has the bubble burst for Pandora? The Danish company known for its charm jewelry announced the sudden resignation of its CEO, Mikkel Vendelin Olesen, effective immediately due to lower-than-expected growth, which the company blames on commodity price increases and “inadequate” execution.

“Although our price increases combined with some destocking are significant contributors to our slowdown in sales and profitability, our own inadequate operational sales, and marketing execution is as big a factor,” said Allan Leighton, Pandora board chairman.

Marcello Bottoli was named the interim CEO as the company, which experienced spectacular growth in recent years and a $2 billion IPO in October, 2010, seeks a permanent replacement.

“The re-set of our affordable luxury positioning, improved operational execution and restoring growth trajectory is now the focus of our company,” Pandora said in the same statement. “This re-set will take up to 18 months to see through. In addition, the company has instigated a strategic review to test or confirm certain elements of the company strategy.”

The announcement came following the early release of a condensed second quarter earnings report Tuesday that contained negative growth rates in its biggest markets and a downgraded outlook. The financial report was scheduled to be released August 16. No reason was given for the early release and the full report will still be issued on the expected date.

The company changed its outlook from expecting a revenue growth of no less than 30 percent for 2011 and an EBITDA margin of minimum 40 percent to 0 revenues and EBITDA margins in the low thirties for the year.

After the release of the financial report, Pandora stock fell a spectacular 65 percent, according to news reports.

Pandora reported that revenue increased 3.6 percent to 1.4 billion Danish kroner ($265.3 million). In the Americas, revenue increased 16.2 percent. However, sales in the U.S., its largest market, fell by 0.7 percent. The U.S. accounted for 39.2 percent of all sales during the period for Pandora.

In Europe it was even worse as sales declined 11.9 percent. The U.K. and Germany, its two largest markets in Europe, fell 13.1 percent and 20.1 percent, respectively. The U.K. accounted for 11.9 percent of all sales, down from 14.2 percent in the second quarter of 2010. Germany accounted for 8.5 percent total group sales, down from 11.1 percent in the second quarter of 2010.

The Asia-Pacific region increased 7.6 percent for the period. However, in Australia (another large market for Pandora), revenue was down 14.6 percent.

The company implemented price increases in all markets during the first quarter except in Australia where it increased prices in April 2011. Price increases in Germany were implemented at the end of first quarter. “Our price increases introduced during H1 2011 have had a significant negative impact on our volumes in the quarter,” the company said.

Other financial highlights include:

• EBITDA decreased by 6.2 percent to 512 million kroner ($97 million) resulting in an EBITDA margin of 36.8 percent compared to an EBITDA margin of 40.7 percent for the second quarter of 2010.

• EBIT decreased by 8.3 percent to 440 million kroner ($84 million) resulting in an EBIT margin of 31.6 percent compared to a EBIT margin of 35.7 percent in Q2 2010

• Reported net profit increased by 56.1 percent to 626 million kroner ($119.3 million), compared to a net profit of DKK 401 million kroner ($76.4 million) in the second quarter of 2010. Adjusted for revaluation of the CWE earn-out provision based on revised outlook for PANDORA CWE, second quarter net profit decreased by 17.7 percent to 330 million kroner ($62.9 million).

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