March 11, 2008 / 3:50 PM / in 10 years

Jones Soda shares tumble after wider Q4 loss

March 11 (Reuters) - Shares of Jones Soda Co JSDA.O fell about 39 percent Tuesday, a day after the company posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss, on low demand for its pure cane sugar drink, and forecast a loss for 2008.

Jones, which makes unusual flavours of soda, such as green pea and turkey, has seen declining sales amidst higher commodity costs and marketing efforts for new products that failed to attract consumers.

“We used our most popular bottle flavors in the cans, but found that shoppers weren’t necessarily interested in all of them, and some of them didn’t sell,” Chief Executive Steve Jones said in a conference call with analysts.

For the fourth quarter, the company posted a loss of 39 cents a share. Excluding items, it had a loss of 18 cents a share compared with analysts’ average estimate of a loss of 3 cents a share.

The soft drink maker said it was not able to expand its product base as planned which resulted in lower sales and unanticipated losses in 2007.

The fourth consecutive quarter of declining concentrate sales was disappointing and the results indicated weaker end-demand for sales of Jones Pure Cane Soda, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Mark Astrachan wrote in a note to clients.

The company paid higher-than-expected severance costs in the fourth quarter as its then CEO resigned during the period.

Shares of the Seattle-based company, which have fallen nearly 75 percent over the past one year, were down $1.20 at $3.14 to become one of the top losers on Nasdaq in late morning trade. (Reporting by Aditi Samajpati in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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