(Corrects story from Aug 12 to show the 27 concept stores purchased by Pandora were already included in the Americas count, paragraph 11)
* CEO hopes to see positive results of Disney deal in 2015
* Pandora Q2 EBITDA rises 69 percent, exceeds expectations
* Pandora keeps EBITDA margin, ups 2014 revenue forecasts
By Annabella Nielsen
COPENHAGEN, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Danish jewellery retailer Pandora hopes a new alliance with Walt Disney Company will boost sales as soon as next year, Pandora CEO Allan Leighton said after unveiling a jump in profits.
Pandora’s shares rose more than nine percent after the company reported a 69 percent increase in second-quarter core profit and unveiled the Disney deal, part of its strategy to expand further in the United States.
“It’s a 10-year alliance, and is a very important thing for us. It reflects on how the brand is perceived. Disney does not perform strategic alliances with just anyone, and we are very proud to be associated with Disney,” Leighton told Reuters.
The Disney agreement gives Pandora access to its popular resorts and extends the company’s footprint in the United States - a core growth market for the company, according to analysts.
Pandora’s second-quarter revenue was 2.5 billion Danish Crowns ($447.8 million) and the Americas led the way with 1.097 billion out of the total, followed by Europe on 1.064 billion.
While revenue in Europe jumped 65 percent from a year earlier, it only increased five percent in the Americas.
“Disney is definitely an opportunity to drive some more revenue in the U.S., and we are doing it to increase our sales,” Leighton said, adding he hoped to see the impact on next year’s revenue, without being able to elaborate on the range.
One of Pandora’s main sellers in the United States has been its charms. The company will now work with Disney to produce a new range of charms, including beloved Disney figures such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, to go on sale in November.
“The agreement with Disney is very interesting. It is a platform from which the Pandora brand could be spread and has the possibility of reaching a much younger client,” said analyst Soren Lontoft at Sydbank.
“The United States is the largest single market for Pandora, and there are still a lot of opportunities to grow in this market,” he said.
The company also announced it would buy 27 Pandora-branded stores, known as “concept stores”, from U.S. jeweller Hannoush. They are already included in Pandora’s 369 concept stores in the Americas.
Pandora raised its 2014 revenue outlook to more than 11 billion Danish crowns from 10.5 billion, although it kept its EBITDA margin target unchanged at 35 percent. At 1318 GMT Pandora shares were 7.5 percent higher.
Core earnings (EBITDA) rose to 893 million Danish crowns in the second quarter, higher than an average forecast of 786 million Danish crowns in a Reuters poll.
Leighton declined to comment on a lawsuit launched last month by 36 shareholders. They are seeking compensation because, they say, they lost money in 2011 because Pandora announced a profit warning too late.
The warning sent Pandora’s shares down 65 percent in August 2011. Leighton, who was chairman at the time, was also sued.
Pandora’s shares slumped after news of the investor lawsuit was made public at the end of July and Tuesday’s jump returns them to levels last seen on July 23.
1 US dollar = 5.5828 Danish crown Additional reporting by Ole Mikkelsen; Editing by Erica Billingham, Sabina Zawadzki and David Clarke