“International expansion and acquisitions are expected to be the primary drivers” of Iconix Brand Group Inc.’s growth in 2014, said the company’s chief executive officer Neil Cole. Cole also said in a conference call to Wall Street analysts following the firm’s posting of fourth-quarter and full-year results Thursday that Iconix continues to work on keeping its existing portfolio of brands “fresh [and] relevant.”
Iconix posted fourth-quarter profits that were essentially flat, although revenues for the period rose 23.6 percent.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, net income was up 0.2 percent to $26.15 million, or 44 cents a diluted share, from $26.09 million, or 37 cents, a year ago. Licensing and other revenue gained 23.6 percent to $105.3 million from $85.1 million for the quarter.
For the year, net income rose 17 percent to $128 million, or $2.11 a diluted share, from $109.4 million, or $1.52, in 2012. Licensing and other revenue rose 22.3 percent to $432.6 million from $353.8 million.
Cole also told analysts that the firm’s results were primarily driven by three key initiatives: “Number one, the continued expansion of our worldwide footprint; secondly, the acquisition of three global brands, and last, our continued commitment to share repurchases.”
Cole said that the firm last year formed four new international joint ventures in Canada, Australia, Southeast Asia and Israel, all having a similar structure as that used in prior buying deals in Latin America, China, Europe and India in which Iconix has a 50 percent ownership stake.
The company’s acquisitions last year include Umbro and Lee Cooper, as well as control of the Buffalo David Bitton brand. It also acquired the balance of the 49 percent stake of IP Holdings Unltd. it didn’t already own in connection with the Mark Ecko brand.
The company is maintaining its full-year 2014 guidance of revenues between $440 million to $455 million, diluted earnings per share between $2.19 and $2.29, and free cash flow of $210 million to $217 million.
Separately, the company’s board has authorized a share repurchase program of up to $500 million of the firm’s common stock over the three-year period. Iconix has about $110 million remaining under the previous $300 million stock repurchase program that was approved by its board in July.