Orange County Business Journal

Billabong USA Part of Bright Spot in Parent’s Annual Results

Kari Hamanaka Friday, August 19, 2011

Sales at Irvine-based Billabong USA continued to improve over the past 12 months as optimism about a companywide recovery for the current year faded, Australian parent Billabong International Ltd. reported Friday.

Billabong’s Americas division, which sells clothes inspired by surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding, saw sales of $881.1 million for the 12 months through June.

That was up 18% from a year earlier factoring in the effects of exchange rates between the U.S. and Australia.

Excluding the effects of exchange rates, sales were up 32.5%.

U.S. sales now account for about a third of the company's revenue in the Americas division.

Billabong International doesn't break down sales for the America's division as a percentage of its overall total.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the Americas were $117.7 million.

That's down 1.4% with currency exchange factors and up 12% without.

Growth of brands such as Encinitas-based Nixon USA, San Diego’s Sector 9 and VonZipper USA in Irvine were seen as spurring the U.S. sales gains for the 12 months through June.

Meanwhile, sales of the flagship Billabong label and Irvine-based Element Skateboards were hampered by struggling Anaheim-based mall retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., which represents the companies’ largest outside retail account.

Sales of Billabong International’s divisions outside the Americas were stunted by the pullback in consumer spending in Europe and Australia along with the effects of the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Total sales for Billabong International were $1.7 billion for the 12 months through June, up about 14% factoring in exchange rates and up 24% without exchange rates.

Profit after taxes was $124.4 million, down 18% including currency and down 7% factoring without exchange rates.

Billabong International scrapped its original guidance of 10% earnings growth for the current year. Instead, the company said that it would not provide an outlook for the year until there’s greater clarity on the consumer spending front.

“This guidance was predicated upon a global recovery gradually taking hold,” the company said in its annual report. “With the exception of the USA and some Asian territories, global trading conditions have generally deteriorated significantly.”