Breville shares dive on Canada warning
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Breville shares have been sold off sharply amid fears it could lose a key distribution contract in Canada worth up to 10 per cent of its earnings.
The kitchen appliance maker and distributor overcame patchy retail conditions to post a 7.8 per cent rise in first half net profit to $31.7 million on Wednesday.
It also said its expected growth in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in the range of four to eight per cent for the full year.
However investors were disturbed to discover that Breville was in talks with GMCR Canada - the owner of the Keurig brand - about the terms upon which their distribution arrangement may continue after June 30.
"If these discussions result in Breville and GMCR Canada agreeing on new terms, the commission income earned by Breville next financial year from the Keurig distribution arrangement in Canada is likely to be substantially less than the commission income expected to be earned this financial year," Breville said in a statement.
Breville expects income this financial year from Keurig, under the existing agreement, to be similar to the $19.5 million earned in 2011/2012.
The company's shares were down by $1.55, or 21.5 per cent, at $5.67 at 1512 AEDT.
Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee said while Breville's overall profit result was in line with expectations, investors were worried about the Keurig deal.
"I think it's because there's some possibility that they might lose a pretty major contract which makes up about 10 per cent of their earnings," she said.
Breville's first half revenues rose 13.2 per cent to $264.4 million in the six months to December 31 compared with the previous corresponding period.
"Although impacted by the difficult retail environment globally, the group has successfully leveraged its core capabilities to continue to drive revenue and earnings growth," chief executive Jack Lord said.
International revenues rose 23 per cent, driven by strong growth in the juicer category, increased marketing, and new product launches including a range of drip filter coffee machines.
In Australia, revenue edged just 2.5 per cent higher in what the company described as "patchy market conditions".
Local sales of Breville's cooking products fell in the first half, although the portioned-coffee segment and food preparation category enjoyed solid growth.
The group recently appointed British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal as an ambassador and plans to launch a new Blumenthal-endorsed appliance brand later this year.
It also plans to roll out a range of co-branded Nespresso coffee machines in Australia and New Zealand, where the portioned coffee market was now "in excess of $100 million a year and still growing".
Breville lifted its partly franked interim dividend to 14 cents per share from 12.5 cents.