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Pandora selloff hits US$7b in its worst year since 2011

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The company is now worth less than US$5 billion, compared with US$18 billion at its peak in 2016.

Copenhagen

THE WORLD'S biggest jewellery maker had another very bad day on the stock exchange, bringing lost market value this year to almost US$7 billion.

Shares in Pandora A/S, which is based in Copenhagen, plunged 12 per cent on Wednesday after brokerage Carnegie warned clients to brace for bad news in the fourth quarter, and for a "tough" 2019.

A spokesman for Pandora declined to comment. The company dropped its long-term sales target last month and is due to present its 2019 outlook in connection with its annual report, on Feb 5.

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The Danish company, which makes mid-priced baubles such as bracelets and necklaces, has struggled in both the US and China, two of its most important markets.

Carnegie says there's little evidence things are improving. With the latest market selloff, the company is now worth less than US$5 billion, compared with US$18 billion at its peak in 2016.

For Pandora, a big part of the story has long been a speculative attack by hedge funds, while analysts were broadly positive. But more recently, funds started scaling back their short bets, while analysts have turned more negative.

Short interest in Pandora has dropped to less than 5 per cent of the share capital, compared with more than 12 per cent in June, according to IHS Markit. Meanwhile, only five of 17 analysts are advising clients to buy shares in the company, compared with 15 a year ago, according to data tracked by Bloomberg.

This year is turning into Pandora's worst since 2011, when it lost 84 per cent in market value. Back then, the company fired its chief executive officer after he issued a profit warning just weeks after telling the market that profits would exceed expectations.

Pandora has been without a CEO since August, after Anders Colding Friis was fired, also in connection with a profit warning. Chief financial officer Anders Boyer has been Pandora's acting CEO, but the board is still looking for a permanent replacement.

The company "doesn't just need better sales momentum and a complete overhaul in terms of the cost side, but Pandora also needs to find itself again and stabilise the downward spiral," said Per Hansen, an investment economist at Nordnet in Copenhagen. BLOOMBERG