Luxury TV, stereo maker Bang & Olufsen suffers fourth-quarter operating loss

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B&O now expects single-digit sales growth in the 2019-2020 year. (File/Shutterstock)
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Shares in the Danish company have fallen more than 70% over the past year. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 11 July 2019
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Luxury TV, stereo maker Bang & Olufsen suffers fourth-quarter operating loss

  • The company reported a fourth-quarter operating loss of $9.97 million
  • Sales for the financial year ending in May dropped 13.6 percent to $422.70 million

COPENHAGEN: Struggling luxury TV and stereo maker Bang & Olufsen (B&O) on Thursday swung to a fourth-quarter operating loss, but said it expected to return to sales growth this year with a plan to open more sales points and launch new products.
Shares in the Danish company have fallen more than 70 percent over the past year, reflecting weak TV sales and slow progress in its turnaround plan at a time when subdued consumer spending has hit retailers across Europe.
“Our unsatisfactory results were primarily due to difficulties related to the transition of our sales and distribution network and fewer product launches compared to last year,” said Chief Executive Henrik Clausen in a statement.

The company says the loss is in part due to a smaller amount of product launches this year compared to the last. (File/Shutterstock)

The company reported a fourth-quarter operating loss of $9.97 million, compared with a profit of $8.03 million in the same period a year earlier.
Full-year earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) fell roughly 50 percent to $8.91 million.
Sales for the financial year ending in May dropped 13.6 percent to $422.70 million, in line with the company’s revised expectations. It had initially forecast 10 percent growth.
B&O now expects single-digit sales growth in the 2019-2020 year and an EBIT margin above the 2.1 percent achieved in 2018-19.


Debut of China’s Nasdaq-style board adds $44bn in market cap

Updated 22 July 2019
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Debut of China’s Nasdaq-style board adds $44bn in market cap

  • Activity draws attention away from main board

BEIJING: Trading on China’s new Nasdaq-style board for homegrown tech firms hit fever pitch on Monday, with shares up as much as 520 percent in a wild debut that more than doubled the exchange’s combined market capitalization and beat veteran investors’ expectations.

Sixteen of the first batch of 25 companies — ranging from chip-makers to health care firms — increased their already frothy initial public offering (IPO) prices by 136 percent on the STAR Market, operated by the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The raucous first day of trade tripped the exchange’s circuit breakers that are designed to calm frenzied activity. The weakest performer leapt 84.22 percent. In total, the day saw the creation of around 305 billion yuan ($44.3 billion) in new market capitalization on top of an initial market cap of around 225 billion yuan, according to Reuters’ calculations.

“The price gains are crazier than we expected,” said Stephen Huang, vice president of Shanghai See Truth Investment Management. “These are good companies, but valuations are too high. Buying them now makes no sense.”

Modelled after Nasdaq, and complete with a US-style IPO system, STAR may be China’s boldest attempt at capital market reforms yet. It is also seen driven by Beijing’s ambition to become technologically self-reliant as a prolonged trade war with Washington catches Chinese tech firms in the crossfire.

Trading in Anji Microelectronics Technology (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., a semiconductor firm, was briefly halted twice as the company’s shares hit two circuit breakers — first after rising 30 percent, then after climbing 60 percent from the market open.

HIGHLIGHTS

• 16 of 25 STAR Market firms more than double from IPO price.

• Weakest performer gains 84 percent, average gain of 140 percent.

• STAR may be China’s boldest attempt at capital market reforms yet.

The mechanisms did little to keep Anji shares in check as they soared as much as 520 percent from their IPO price in the morning session. Anji shares ended the day up 400.2 percent from their IPO price, the day’s biggest gain, giving the company a valuation of nearly 242 times 2018 earnings.

Suzhou Harmontronics Automation Technology Co. Ltd., in contrast, triggered its circuit breaker in the opposite direction, falling 30 percent from the market open in early trade before rebounding. But by the market close, the company’s shares were still 94.61 percent higher than their IPO price.

Wild share price swings, partly the result of loose trading rules, had been widely expected. IPOs had been oversubscribed by an average of about 1,700 times among retail investors.

The STAR Market sets no limits on share prices during the first five days of a company’s trading. That compares with a cap of 44 percent on debut on other boards in China.

In subsequent trading sessions, stocks on the new tech board will be allowed to rise or fall a maximum 20 percent in a day, double the 10 percent daily limit on other boards.

Regulators last week cautioned individual investors against “blindly” buying STAR Market stocks, but said big fluctuations were normal.

Looser trading rules were aimed at “giving market players adequate freedom in the game, accelerating the formation of equilibrium prices, and boosting price-setting efficiency,” the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) said in a statement on Friday.

The SSE added that it was normal to see big swings in newly listed tech shares, as such companies typically have uncertain prospects, and are difficult to evaluate.