New Wave Group AB, the Swedish-based owner of Craft, Cutter & Buck and a number of other sports brands, reported sales amounted to SEK 1,94 billion in the fourth quarter against SEK 1.63 billion, a gain of 19 percent year over year.
Operating result amounted to SEK 209.4 million, up from SEK 172.5 million a year ago. Earnings for the period amounted to SEK 158.9 versus SEK 146.8 million.
For the year, sales amounted to SEK 6.29 billion, which was 12 percent higher than last year. Operating result amounted to SEK 482.8, up from SEK 469.1 million. Net earnings for the period amounted to SEK 360.0 against SEK 354.0) million.
New Wave Group’s Sports and Leisure segment includes sportwear brands like AHEAD, Auclair, Craft, Cutter and Buck, and Seger. The Gifts and Home Furnishings segment consists of brands such as Kosta Boda, Orrefors, and Sagaform.
Torsten Jansson, CEO, said in a statement:
“The fourth quarter goes down in history as the best so far for New Wave Group. 19 % growth (14 % in local currency) are strong figures. All three segments grew. Corporate* have, for a long time, enjoyed good growth, which also continues, but during this quarter I would like to especially point out: Sports & Leisure with growth of 26 %. Both of our sales channels have good growth, retail by 22 % and promo by 18 %. Operating result increased by 21 %, from SEK 172.5 million to SEK 209.4 million. A positive cash flow from operating activities of SEK 174.4 million is very pleasing, and we are of course with our closing stock 2018, positioned for continued good growth in 2019. Growth for the 18th consecutive quarter with increased annual income each year is very good!
“Geographically, I would also like to mention the United States. Growth there is now starting to gather good speed and we obtain a good return on our investments. During the fourth quarter the United States grew by 33 % (24 % in local currency) which is very strong.
FULL YEAR 2018
“Sales increased by 12 % (9 % in local currency) and amounted to SEK 6,290.6 million which is the highest yet. Operating result, result before tax and result for the period continue to increase. All three segments had growth, and even both channels i.e. promo and retail. I’m even pleased with our positive cash flow. SEK 59.4 million after investments may not sound all that impressive but with 12 % growth during the year, and the fact that closing stock 2018 has increased in order to have continued growth 2019, I find this gratifying and a sign of strength in my eyes.
“It was the fourth year in a row with good growth, from SEK 4,273.6 million 2014 to SEK 6,290.6 million 2018, which gives an organic growth of SEK 2,017.0 million for the period. At the same time, operating result increased from SEK 250.0 million 2014 to SEK 482.8 million 2018 which is almost a doubling.
“In 2018, we have made great strides in most of our areas but especially interesting is of course Craft right now. With Craft we have made tremendous progress with our Teamwear/Club investments. Amazingly enough, we were named by the German sports magazine SAZ Sport to Germany’s best supplier of Teamwear/Club already 18 months after we launched, which really should not be possible.
“The first out in the men’s Swedish Football Premier Division was Hammarby, which we are very proud of, and this agreement applies to both men, women and youth. We are also equally proud of all the smaller clubs within cycling, athletics, soccer, running, skiing, wrestling, volleyball and others, which is the base of our business, and we are very proud to operate from grass roots level to elite.
“While much focus right now is on Craft, I would also point out the fine development in Corporate* as well as in our promo sales channel. In Kosta, we also saw a change for the better in autumn after the bad summer.
“We leave 2018 with a 48.6 % equity ratio, a strong balance sheet and historically low net debt to equity ratio.
“I will start with a little history. We went public for exactly 21 years ago, in December 1997. Since then we have had growth in turnover from SEK 351.4 million to SEK 6,290.6 million which is 1,690 % or approximately SEK 283 million per year. Operating result during the same period increased from SEK 29.4 million to SEK 482.8 million, an increase of 1,542 %. This despite the fact that we basically lost the years 2009-2011 due to financing problems.
“From 1994 to 2007 we grew by an average of 37 % in sales and 42 % in operating result, 13 years in a row.
“But why is history important? You are investing in the future? That’s right, and today New Wave Group is stronger and has better opportunities than ever! We have Craft, where we do not fear anyone, and challenge anyone. We have Cutter & Buck, we have the United States and Canada with high growth, where we made substantial investments which we are now beginning to harvest. We have strong growth in Corporate* and in the promo sales channel. We have a stronger balance sheet than ever and historically a very low level of debt. At the same time, we have a competent, active and hungry management who will deliver! So why would the future be worse than history?
“My conviction is that we will continue to deliver growth in both sales and results. But there will certainly be individual quarters where the results will be lower than last year.
“Our brands, our sales capacity, our delivery capacity, our products, our motivation, our organization, our balance sheet – has never been better, bigger or stronger.
“Thank you to all of our customers, employees and shareholders!”