Globe Annual Report and the Pacific Brands Deal

Being traded on the Australian Stock Exchange, Globe doesn’t have to file the usual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission here in the U.S. But they did file an annual report (109 pages, but happily for me full of pretty pictures and big type) and, in conjunction with the announcement of the pending sale of its Australian and New Zealand street wear apparel division to Pacific Brands for a maximum of $42 million Australian Dollars, it was worth taking a look at.

 
By the way, all the numbers in here are in Australian Dollars. Currently, an Australian Dollar will get you about $0.76. Do your own math. Oh, and just so I don’t have to say it continually, Globe’s fiscal year ended June 30, 2006. The annual report was released October 13th.
 
The first thing I want to say is that I like these guys. I mean, thanks to them, I now know how to bounce quarters into a glass. You know who you are. Maybe more importantly is that I love any management that starts off its annual report directly and honestly with the Chairman and CEO saying, (I’m paraphrasing here) the first quarter in North America really sucked, but the brands are in better shape and we’ve got our financial and management ducks in order, but we didn’t make as much money this year as we’d hoped. All you can ask of any management is competence, honesty and integrity.
 
Sales fell in 2006 from $204.5 to $197.3 million. Net Income dropped from $3.3532 to $0.471 million. There’s no way to make that look like a good result. However, the improvement they talk about in the annual report is better seen in the cash flow. There we see that in 2005, operations used $7.381 million in cash. In 2006, operations generated $2.780 million. And that is almost entirely the result of increased receipts from customers. That’s a good thing, and suggests they are doing all the appropriate management things that a company has to do when things aren’t going its way- controlling inventory, collecting receivables, being tough on spending. Let’s see if the balance sheet bears that out.
 
Inventories and receivables both down a bit. Good. Payables down almost $10 million. Great. Current ratio went up from 2.43 to 2.83, a 16.5% improvement. That’s a strong current ratio. My only caveat is that a current ratio is as of a moment in time (June 30 in this case) and seasonality, to the extent Globe has it, can wreck havoc with that. As a former President of a couple of snowboard only brands, I am justifiably paranoid about that.
 
Meanwhile, back on the cash flow, I see that Cash Used in Financing Activities fell from $11.1 to $0.3 million. Of course, $8.3 million of those savings came from not paying dividends in 2006 that they paid in 2005 and I suppose the people who use to get those dividends aren’t that thrilled, but I imagine it was the right thing to do.
 
The bottom line is that while they used $22.2 million in cash in 2005, they used only $3.0 million in 2006. The conclusion? They responded appropriately to their business conditions, but now they have to improve their bottom line by selling more at better margins.
 
There’s a limit to how much you can accomplish that by controlling spending. So they are taking the strategic step of making the apparel sale to Pacific Brands. The brands being sold “…include Mooks, M-ONE-11 and Australia and New Zealand licensed brands together with eight concept retail stores in Melbourne and Sydney and two Direct Factory Outlets stores,” according to the Melbourne newspaper The Age. The same article says these assets represent about 35% of Globe International’s group revenue.
 
Certainly, this sale gives Globe some additional resources to use in focusing on its core brands. Apparently, it’s the result of the strategic review that Globe announced it would be conducting last February.
 

The interesting thing to me is that this leaves Globe with a bigger percentage of its revenues in skate hard goods- a tough market for anybody. Hopefully, the tighter focus and proceeds of the asset sale will help them improve their performance there.