International remains a focus for Iconix Brand Group, with China representing a major growth opportunity for the company.
Neil Cole, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a conference call Wednesday that the company had planned to monetize its stake in the Candie’s brand in China following the initial public offering of its venture partner in the brand, Shanghai La Chapelle. Given the strong prospects for the future, “we in fact doubled our stake in the joint venture and have decided to hold our equity stake in the business as we believe it will have significantly more value in the future.”
The ceo said, “When Iconix China was formed in September 2008, it was run under a different operating model with the goal of monetizing equity stakes in the fast-growing local Chinese companies that build out stores for our brands across China.”
Iconix China was formed with Silas and Veronica Chou. The venture has multiple brand partners, with Shanghai La Chapelle working on the the Candie’s and Marc Ecko Cut & Sew brands. There are different partners connected with the brands. Badgley Mischka, placed with Eve NY, and Joe Boxer, with Northeast Socks, are two other examples in addition to Shanghai La Chapelle. Iconix acquired full ownership and control in January.
Cole said on the call that of the multiple brands under the Iconix China umbrella, “Candie’s is the most developed in China, with over 700 stores today and plans for continued growth,” explaining why the company elected to keep its equity stake in the Candie’s business in China.
For the first quarter ended March 31, net income was up 4.9 percent to $65.9 million, or $1.21 a diluted share, from $62.8 million, or $1.03, a year ago. Excluding onetime items, earnings were 54 cents, which was below Wall Street analysts’ consensus of 68 cents. Total revenues fell 17.9 percent to $95.4 million from $116.1 million, which included a licensing revenue decline of 15 percent to $95.4 million from $112.2 million.
The company raised its 2015 diluted earnings per share guidance to a range of $3.65 to $3.79, an increase from $3.06 to $3.20 to reflect the gain in the first quarter in connection with the company’s acquisition of full ownership and control of its Iconix China joint venture. The company maintained its 2015 revenue guidance of between $490 million and $510 million.