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Levi Strauss shares pop after swinging to profit in first public quarter since March IPO

The maker of the iconic denim jeans posted net income of $146.6 million compared to a loss of $19 million in the year-ago quarter

man in jeans
The privately-held Levi’s went public in March in an initial public offering that returned the iconic jeans company to public markets for the first time in 34 years

Levi Strauss & Company (NYSE:LEVI) swung to a profit in its first quarter since making its second public debut last month as its  denim jeans proved wildly popular across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

The privately-held Levi’s went public in March in an initial public offering that returned the iconic jeans company to public markets for the first time in 34 years.

In the three months until February 24, the San Francisco company reported net income of $146.6 million, or $0.37 per share, compared to a loss of $19 million, or $0.05 in the corresponding period a year ago, when it was still a private company and hit by tax changes.

READ: Levi's shares fly off the shelves in triumphant return to public markets

Over the same period, the company’s revenue climbed to $1.43 billion from $1.34 billion in the year-ago quarter. Sales of jeans and other casual apparel rebounded most in the Americas, where net revenue jumped 9% to $717 million from the year-ago period. Sales in Asia also came in strong, rising 8% to $253 million, while European sales popped by just 3% to $465 million.  

"Growth was broad-based across all three regions and all channels, demonstrating that our strategies are working and our investments are paying off," said Chip Bergh, Levi’s CEO in a statement.

On its IPO day last month, traders got into the spirit by wearing Levi's denim from head-to-toe, breaking with a longstanding "no jeans allowed" policy. More than 120 employees from Levi's global offices including CEO Chip Bergh took part in the event, sporting jeans and sweatshirts with the company's red logo.

This enthusiasm has been met with applause from investors, who sent Levi’s shares up 6.95% to $23.40 in pre-market trade Wednesday.

The company priced its IPO last month at $17 per share, valuing the company at about $6.6 billion. The IPO raised roughly $623 million for the San Francisco-based inventor of blue jeans.

Founded back in 1853 by German immigrant Levi Strauss, Levi’s jeans and casual clothing are sold in more than 110 countries via chain retailers, department stores and online sites.

Levi’s went public previously in 1971 and raised around $50 million, but the family of Levi Strauss took the company private in 1984 in a $1.7 billion leveraged buyout.

Just a few years ago, the future of Levi's was imperiled by high debt on its books as it tried to reinvent itself in a crowded field by being less dependent on retail stores.

Contact Ellen Kelleher at [email protected]

-- This article is updated to reflect the latest share price movement --

Quick facts: Levi Strauss & Co

Price: 17 USD

NYSE:LEVI
Market: NYSE
Market Cap: $6.68 billion
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