* FY profit seen as ahead of market expectations
* Revenue continued to be significantly up in H2
* Portmeirion shares up 12 pct to 493p, index down 0.4 pct
(Adds analyst comment, updates shares)
By Brenda Goh
LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Ceramics maker Portmeirion PMGR.L said it would post better full-year profits than the market expected thanks to rapid export growth for brands such as Spode as it gears up for next year’s royal wedding.
Shares in the company, known for its Royal Worcester fine bone china, and its blue and white Spode tableware, hit a 13-year high, and were up 11.5 percent at 493 pence by 1200 GMT. The FTSE All Share Index .FTAS was down 0.4 percent.
The stock has gained 26 percent this month, valuing the company at just under 50 million pounds ($79.4 million).
Portmeirion, which reports full-year results in March, is one of several companies hoping to get a sales boost from Prince William’s engagement last month to his long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton.
The royal wedding, to take place at London’s Westminster Abbey on April 29, is seen boosting Britain’s economy by nearly $1 billion. [ID:nLDE6AG25H] [ID:nLDE6AF2B]
“We’re fairly positive about (the royal wedding), export markets still look strong... So our outlook looks good,” Portmeirion’s Non-executive Chairman Dick Steele told Reuters.
“Profit before exceptional items and taxation for the year to 31 December 2010 will be significantly ahead of market expectations,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
Portmeirion said revenue continued to perform well ahead of last year having risen 24 percent to 21 million pounds in the first half.
In 2009, Portmeirion reported full-year pretax profit of 3.9 million pounds on revenue of 43.2 million pounds.
Seymour Pierce analyst Freddie George upgraded his 2010 pretax profit forecast for Portmeirion to 5 million pounds from 4.5 million pounds, and said the company was valued “at a significant discount to the luxury brands sector”.
Portmeirion, which described demand for the upcoming white and gold Royal Wedding commemorative collection as unprecedented, said it would launch over 250 new products in 2011.
Export markets, and in particular the United States, South Korea and Canada, continued to perform very well, Portmeirion said, with worldwide sales of Spode and Royal Worcester up over 40 percent on last year, exceeding a target of 12 million pounds ($19 million) set on April 24.
Seymour Pierce’s George said Portmeirion had significant potential to develop new markets and to exploit Spode and Royal Worcester’s historic pattern books.
“The company has introduced several new products for Spode Blue Italian and re-launched the Blue Room ranges,” George said. “It has also broadened the Spode Christmas Tree assortment, which has been very successful in the U.S.” ($1=.6301 Pound) (Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Sharon Lindores)