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Under Armour shares jump as fourth-quarter sales beat forecasts

After a disappointing third quarter, Under Armour's sales returned to growth in the final few months of 2017
steph curry
North America was a tough market for most of the industry in 2017, with the world’s largest sport brand Nike also struggling

Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA) shares jumped in pre-market trading on Tuesday after the sportswear retailer beat expectations with its fourth-quarter earnings.

In the three months through to December 31, UA reported a net loss of US$87.9mln, or 20 US cents a share, compared to earnings of US$103.2mln, or 23 US cents a share, in the year-ago period.

READ: Under Armour slumps as Q3 results underwhelm

Adjusting for a one-time charge from the new US tax reforms, the company had breakeven earnings per share - in line with what Wall Street analysts had expected.

The big beat was with revenues though, which came in at US$1.4bn for the quarter. That was 5% higher than what UA posted this time last year and ahead of consensus estimates of US$1.3bn.

“After years of rapid growth and building a globally recognized brand, the dynamic landscape of 2017 was a catalyst for us to begin strategically transforming Under Armour into an operationally excellent company," said chairman and chief executive Kevin Plank.

The performance caps a decent turnaround for the Washington DC-based group, which saw its stock drop to eight-year lows in October as it blamed a “difficult backdrop” in its core North America market for flagging sales.

UA has had to rethink its strategy in recent months as it moves from a fast-growing business to a more mature one, competing against some big names in a tough field.

READ: Latest Steph Curry late to the court

It unveiled a restructuring plan last August, for which it recognised a pre-tax cost of US$37mln in the fourth quarter.

The company added that it expects to book another US$110-130mln in restructuring charges this year after identifying further measures.

But it should pay off next year, with Under Armour forecasting “a minimum” of US$75mln in annual savings as a result from 2019 onwards.

As for this year, Under Armour is expecting revenue to rise at a “low single-digit percentage” rate, and for adjusted EPS to range from 14 US cents to 19 US cents. The current FactSet consensus is for 2018 EPS of 21 US cents.

Shares jumped 8.3% to US$14.27 in pre-market trading on Tuesday.

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