Surfwear group Billabong has posted its first full year profit in four years, but insists it’s a good start, not a great win.
The company cruised back into the black with a $4.2 million net profit for 2014/15, a dramatic turnaround from its $234 million loss a year earlier.
The profit is Billabong’s first since 2011, with underlying earnings also higher for the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis.
OptionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said Billabong had spent four turbulent years in the wilderness that nearly sent it belly up.
“It was in control of the short sellers, then in control of the debtors and it’s a very different looking company now,” he said.
Billabong underwent a major restructure in which it shed loss-making businesses to streamline the company and has now lifted sales in the US and Europe.
Its shareholders cheered the positive news in Billabong’s results announcement, sending its shares up by as much as eight per cent.
The stock closed 1.5 cents, or 2.4 per cent, higher at 64.5 cents.
“There’s been an optimistic start to 2016. That’s where the market has rewarded the share price a bit, obviously coming off a low base,” Mr Le Brun said.
The group has focused on its three core brands, Billabong, RVCA and Element, and says forward wholesale orders have grown around the globe in the first few months of the 2016 financial year.
Chief executive Neil Fiske said the company has reached a turning point but there is still much to do.
“While this remains a complex, challenging turnaround in an uncertain economic environment, on balance more things are working for us than against us,” he said.
“Now having really got some momentum behind the big brands we have the opportunity to pay attention to some of the smaller pockets of our business.”
Comparative store sales in the Asia Pacific region are being hampered by a stronger US dollar, and there is further disruption from operational issues with the Paris distribution centre, he said.
BILLABONG RIDES PROFIT WAVE
* Net profit: $4.2m, up from a $234m loss
* Revenue: up 2.6pct to $1.05b
* Dividend: Nil, unchanged