December 6, 2007 / 10:33 PM / in 10 years

Gildan profit more than doubles in fourth quarter

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Gildan Activewear GIL.TO GIL.N reported a sharp rise in fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday, as it sold more clothing.

Gildan said net profit rose to $40.9 million, or 34 cents a share, in the quarter, more than double earnings of $16.8 million, or 14 cents a share, in the same period last year.

The Montreal-based company said that, excluding restructuring charges, it earned $45.8 million, or 38 cents a share. That compared with adjusted earnings of $36.8 million, or 30 cents a share, in the year-prior period.

On average, analysts polled by Reuters Estimates expected earnings of 38 cents a share before exceptions.

Revenue rose 8.4 percent to $254.9 million from $235.2 million.

Gildan, which sells T-shirts, sports shirts, and fleeces, said its overall market share was up at 48.2 percent from 42.7 percent last year.

In September, Gildan said it expected to match or better its fiscal 2008 earnings estimate of $1.80 to $1.85 a share. It cited benefits from its $125 million purchase of sock maker V.I. Prewett & Son and the expansion of its Honduras manufacturing plant.

Facing tough global competition, particularly cheap imports from Asia, Gildan has cut jobs as it closed North American plants and moved manufacturing to Honduras and Dominican Republic. The company took a restructuring charge of $4.9 million after-tax, or 4 cents a share, in the quarter.

Shares of Gildan rose C$1.55, or 4 percent, to close at C$39.57 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

($1=$1.01 Canadian)

Reporting by Susan Taylor & Natalie Armstrong; Editing by Rob Wilson

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