Gildan Activewear Q4 Results Miss Estimates, Boosts Dividend

OTTAWA (dpa-AFX) - Apparel products maker Gildan Activewear Inc. (GIL, GIL.TO) Thursday reported a rise in fourth-quarter profit, amid 6.4 percent growth in sales. However, earnings per share, as well as revenues missed analysts' estimates. The shares fell about 15 percent in pre-market trading.

The board has recommended a 20 percent rise in quarterly dividend.

The company also announced that it will be transitioning to a new fiscal year-end in 2015, and that its year-end will take place on the Sunday closest to December 31, rather than the first Sunday following September 28.

For the fourth quarter ended October 5, the company's net earnings increased to $122.68 million or $1.00 per share from $96.78 million or $0.79 per share in the previous year.

Adjusted earnings for the prior-year quarter totaled $0.83 per share. On average, 13 analysts polled by Thomson-Reuters estimated earnings to be $1.08 per share. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Net sales grew to $666 million from $626.17 million a year earlier. Analysts expected sales of $713.4 million.

According to the firm, growth in sales was driven by increased sales of branded underwear and activewear in Branded Apparel, higher Printwear sales and the impact of the acquisition of Doris.

The company said it is experiencing strong replenishment orders in the December quarter.

For the three months to January 4, 2015, Gildan expects a net loss of around $0.30 per share on sales of about $400 million.

For the fiscal year ended January 3, 2016, the company expects earnings of $3.00 to $3.15 per share, on an adjusted basis, on sales of around $2.65 billion.

The board has recommended a 20 percent rise in quarterly dividend to $0.13 per share, payable on January 12, 2015 to shareholders of record on December 18.

The company said it will cut base selling prices in the printwear segment, as it seeks to pass through potential cost savings in new yarn-spinning facilities. The price reduction also reflect lower price of cotton futures in recent months, the company said in a news release.

GIL closed Wednesday's trading at $58.27, down 1.54 percent. In the pre-market activity on Thursday, the shares are down 14.91 percent.

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