Gildan Activewear Inc. said Thursday that its earnings jumped strongly in the second quarter, as lower manufacturing, cotton and energy costs combined with strong sales of activewear and underwear.

Net income for the period ended March 31 increased to $48.8 million, or 40 cents a diluted share, from $7.1 million, or 6 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Excluding a restructuring charge, profits totaled $49.8 million, or 41 cents a share, 5 cents higher than those expected by analysts, on average.

Revenue rose 33.5 percent to $326.8 million from $244.8 million in 2009, driven by a 51 percent increase in sales in underwear and activewear.

Gildan attributed the earnings growth to an increase in unit and sales volumes, and an improved product mix for activewear and underwear, which, together, positively impacted earnings per share by 22 cents a share. Favorable manufacturing and energy costs also impacted EPS by 21 cents, the company said.

The favorable costs and product mix also helped gross margins improve to 27.8 percent of sales versus 15.8 percent during the prior-year quarter.

Laurence Sellyn, executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer, said on the company conference call that Gildan’s market share for all product categories combined increased to 64.4 percent, up from 57.3 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Sellyn said the results “reflected a strong recovery from the second quarter of last year,” and the company has seen a continuation of “positive momentum over the last four quarters.”

For the first half, earnings increased to $76.7 million, or 63 cents a diluted share, from $11.4 million, or 9 cents a share, a year earlier. Net sales expanded 27.6 percent to $547.2 million from $428.8 million in the 2009 period.

The company now projects revenues to rise 13 percent in fiscal 2010, to $1.3 billion, up from prior guidance of $1.2 billion.

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