4imprint Reports Half-Year Sales Growth

Counselor Top 40 distributor 4imprint (asi/197045) announced that its half-year revenues this year grew 17% compared to last year for a total of $270.2 million. The group’s North American business (which accounts for 96% of 4imprint’s revenue) grew by the same amount while its U.K. and Ireland locations grew 14% in the British pound and 7% in U.S. dollars.

“The strategic objective of the business remains unchanged: to deliver attractive organic growth through continued investment in marketing, people and technology,” Chairman John Poulter said in a statement.

In “like-for-like” revenue (accounting for an extra week of accounting last year), 4imprint grew its organic revenue by 15%. Total orders increased 14% in the first half of this year on a like-for-like basis. Orders from existing customers increased 19%, and more than 120,000 new customers were acquired during the period, with new customer orders increasing 11%. The company said operating margins remained stable.

The Manchester, U.K.-based distributor said that England’s June referendum vote to leave the European Union will have little impact on the company, especially since the vast majority of the company’s business is based in the U.S. and most of the company’s financial components are dollar-based. “The group is highly cash-generative, mostly in U.S. dollars,” the company said in a statement. “Those U.S. dollars are now worth significantly more than previously when converted to sterling, producing an advantage for the group since its primary applications of cash, shareholder dividends and pension contributions, are paid in sterling.”

One exception is the company’s net pension liability, which is sterling based. In its statement, 4imprint noted that it completed the conversion away from its legacy pension scheme, leading to “a much smaller scheme with lower volatility” with fewer contributions, and a one-off contribution of 10 million pounds ($14.5 million) that was paid out.

“The reduced future contributions to the pension scheme, along with the ongoing cash generative nature of the group’s trading operations, leave the group in a strong financial position,” said Poulter. In its full-year outlook, 4imprint anticipated the same trade patterns to continue in the second half of the year. The company declared an interim dividend per share that was 35% larger than last year’s.

For 2015, 4imprint reported total revenue of $497 million, an increase of 20% from the previous year. In Counselor’s State of the Industry issue, 4imprint ranked as the second largest distributor with $479.2 million in North American promotional product revenue.