UPDATE 2-Gildan forecasts loss as it cuts prices in printwear business

Thu Dec 4, 2014 11:45am EST
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* Expects 2015 profit of $3.00-$3.15/share vs $2.94 last year

* Expects first-quarter loss of $0.30/share

* Posts fourth-quarter profit of $1/share vs estimates of $1.07

* Raises dividend to $0.13/share from $0.108 (Adds details, analyst comment, updates share movement)

Dec 4 (Reuters) - Canadian apparel maker Gildan Activewear Inc forecast a first-quarter loss as it cuts prices in its printwear business to attract more orders from wholesale distributors.

Gildan shares fell as much as 14 percent to C$56.90 in morning trading, making it one of the biggest percentage losers on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The company's printwear business sells plain T-shirts, fleece, and sport shirts mainly to wholesale distributors and screen printers in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Gildan also reported a fourth-quarter profit below the average analyst estimate due to lower-than-expected sales of its branded apparel as weak demand forced its retail customers to cut back on orders.

The branded apparel business sells Gold Toe socks mainly to U.S. retailers. It added brands including Secret and Silks, which make pantyhose, through its acquisition of Doris Inc earlier this year. The purchase also gave it brands such as Kushyfoot and TherapyPlus.   Continued...