The Pacific Brands share price soars on earnings results

Pacific Brands Limited (ASX: PBG) has seen its share price zoom 9.6% higher to 85.5 cents, after the underwear and bedding retailer posted a decent interim result and even declared a dividend.

The owner of brands such as Bonds, Berlei, Jockey, Tontine and Sheridan saw sales rise 8.6% to $425.3 million for the six months to end of December 2015, while underlying net profit soared 44% to $24.3 million compared to the same period last financial year.

Capping a remarkable comeback, Pacific Brands now is in a net cash position ($33 million) and declared a 1.6 cents per share fully franked dividend from earnings per share of 2.7 cents – the first since 2014.

What’s more, all operating groups (Underwear, Sheridan, Tontine and Dunlop Flooring) posted gains in both sales and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for a group total of $36.2 million. Underwear remains the group’s dominant category, generating 85% of EBIT in the last half year although two brands Bonds and Sheridan represent 71% of sales.

The wholesaler and retailer continues to roll out its retail network, with wholesale sales down to 61% of total group sales from 66% in the same period last year. Same store sales are positively rocketing along with Bonds retail growth at 22% and Sheridan at 9%.

The good news is that PacBrands has managed to do all this despite significant currency headwinds. As the Australian dollar has depreciated, the company’s products sourced offshore become more expensive.

Clearly, Australian consumers are spending too – which should bode well for other retailers including Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX: MYR), Surfstich Group Ltd (ASX: SRF) and Premier Investments Limited (ASX: PMV). While the latter two have been performing consistently, department store Myer has been under immense pressure, and could positively surprise investors.

What next for Pacific Brands?

Sales for the six weeks to date are up 8% over the same period in 2015, and the company is forecasting EBIT of between $73 and $75 million for the full 2016 financial year (roughly double the first six months).

Dividends are expected to be paid on a payout ratio of 60%, so a similar 1.6 cent dividend per share could be expected for the second half for a total of 3.2 cents, fully franked.

Foolish takeaway

After a number of years in the wilderness, with shares virtually going nowhere over the past five years, Pacific Brands looks like it is on the comeback trail and set to reward savvy investors.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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