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UK's AO World sees full-year core earnings at lower end of expectations

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LONDON (Reuters) – AO World, the British online electricals retailer, on Thursday forecast 2018-19 core earnings at the lower end of market expectations and said it had increased stock levels ahead of Brexit.

AO didn’t give a specific forecast for core earnings. Prior to the update, analysts were on average forecasting adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), excluding one off costs, of 0.7 million pounds for the year to March 31.

Forecasts were in a range of 0.4 million pounds to 2.0 million pounds.

AO’s trading update forecast revenue of about 900 million pounds, an increase of 13 percent year-on-year, or 9 percent excluding the Mobile Phones Direct business it purchased last December.

UK revenue was forecast up 9.8 percent, with Europe up 32.3 million pounds.

As part of its Brexit contingency planning, during the last quarter of its financial year AO increased its inventory levels for fast-moving products by about 15 million pounds, with a corresponding impact on its cash position.

In January AO founder John Roberts was re-appointed chief executive. He said he would update on his plans in June.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by David Holmes)

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