Asos to re-gain market´s trust after fire badly hits its stock

Tuesday, 24 June 2014
ANALYSIS_ According to Asos calculations, the Barnsley site which was set to fire over the weekend, held 70 percent, or 111 million pounds of the business' 159 million pounds of total stock at cost. The fire comes weeks after the online giant issued a profit warning cutting its estimates by 30 percent.

The online fashion retailer estimates that approximately 20 percent, or 22.2 million pounds, of the total stock at the site had been compromised by fire damage and the sprinkler systems. Luckily, technology, automation and structure of the building weren´t affected by the fire, assured the company in a statement issued earlier this week.

"We have been advised by the South Yorkshire Police that after initial investigations, they are treating the incident as deliberate and have commenced a criminal enquiry," said Asos, adding that they are “cooperating fully with this investigation."

Shares in Asos were up 0.3 percent at 2,759 pence after falling as much as 3.1 percent in early trading Monday, when the news were broken, valuing the business at 2.3 billion pounds, reported Reuters. The stock has shed 39 percent of its price over the last month alone.

Earlier in June, Asos warned on worse-than-expected profits for the year. The warning wiped 1.2 billion pounds off its market value.

Brian McBride, the company's chairman said in an interview with ‘Management Today’ that, “Believe it or not, I don’t really watch the share price obsessively.” “Volatility is what you expect when you surprise the market, and we did surprise the market.”

Analysts keep their trust in Asos but remain cautious about mid-term

On a positive note, some analysts that cover the stock highlighted that the company has a full insurance cover and pointed out that late June was not a particularly busy time of the year for the firm.

In a nod to the e-tailer´s future improvement, analyst Freddie George from Cantor Fitzgerald says he was retaining his 2014 pretax profit forecast of 46 million pounds, assuming that any stock loss will be covered by insurance. He retained his ‘hold’ recommendation over Asos shares although he cut his target price from 3,500 to 2,500 pence.

In the same vein, analysts at Barclays said they believe disruption to sales and profits will be “limited” but warned that its 1 billion pounds full-year sales target could be at risk, given the website was not operational for two days, reported ‘City A.M.’ The timing of the insurance payout could also pose a risk to profits, they added.

Angela González Rodríguez

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