By  on February 5, 2013

Hanesbrands Inc. logged a strong fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to push the company to a net profit gain for the year. Chairman and chief executive officer Richard Noll, however, noted the firm gained momentum in the second half, paid down debt and was well positioned for 2013.

The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company’s fourth-quarter profits rose 96.2 percent to $80.4 million, or 80 cents a diluted share, from $41 million, or 41 cents, a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings from continuing operations, which exclude expenses related to a debt prepayment, came in at $1.07, or 6 cents ahead of the $1.01 Wall Street projected.

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Sales for the three months ended Dec. 29 increased to $1.15 billion from $1.1 billion.

“By reducing bond debt by $750 million over the past 13 months, we have ended our era of high debt leverage, and the momentum of strong results in the back half of 2012 positions us well for continued profit growth in 2013,” Noll said.

For the year, Hanesbrands’ net profits fell 38.2 percent to $164.7 million, or $1.64 a diluted share, from $266.7 million, or $2.69, in 2011. Sales increased 2.1 percent to $4.53 billion from $4.43 billion.

The firm noted: “Full-year sales increased 4 percent excluding the managed decline in the branded printwear division and the decline in a large mid-tier retailer undergoing a strategic shift.”

This year, the company expects earnings of $3.25 to $3.40 a share and sales of about $4.6 billion.

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