What's going on?
Late on Monday, Danish luxury electronics company Bang & Olufsen (B&O) reported lackluster results. Investors didn’t like what they heard and sent the stock down 17% on Tuesday.
What does this mean?
B&O’s preliminary annual update showed sales fell almost 14% compared to the year before – more than the 10% decline it forecasted after cutting its forecast twice last year – and was accompanied by a profit margin that also shrank more than expected. Lower-than-expected sales to European customers in B&O’s latest quarter were primarily to blame.
Demand for B&O’s high-end speakers and $20,000 televisions seems to be stalling. The company’s in the midst of a turnaround, so far with limited success – but it does expect this year to improve, although it had originally forecast 10% sales growth last year. That’s partly why the luxury company’s stock has fallen into poverty, down 70% in the last year.
Why should I care?
For markets: Buyers, speak up.
B&O’s share price decline could spark takeover bids, according to some analysts: it might be a desirable discounted target for a buyer able to reignite customer demand and lower costs. Alternatively, some of B&O’s existing shareholders might prefer to rewire the company in private – although B&O rejected a takeover attempt from its largest shareholder in 2016. And it’s not just European luxury companies losing their luster: US jeweler Tiffany & Co missed quarterly sales growth expectations on Tuesday and lowered its annual earnings forecast.
The bigger picture: Where there’s smoke…
This slowdown in high-end spending might be symptomatic of a weaker global economic environment – especially in Europe. Fresh data on Tuesday showed that inflation in May rose more slowly than expected. And as a result, on Thursday the European Central Bank may announce a further delay to its plan to raise eurozone interest rates next year.