Iconix Brand Group recognised substantial benefits from recent brand acquisitions in its first quarter and hinted that there are more purchases to come.

In the three months ended 31 March, net income shot up 73.3% to US$12.7m, or $0.21 a diluted share, from $7.4m, or $0.18, in last year's quarter. Analysts expected EPS of $0.20.

Without a tax benefit, year-ago profit would have been $3.9m, or $0.10.

Licensing royalties, now the New York-based company's sole source of revenue, hit $30.8m, more than 2.3 times the 2006 level of $13.3m.

"It was a good quarter for the growth of our existing portfolio of brands as well as with respect to acquisitions as we acquired two powerful new lifestyle brands, Roca Wear and Danskin, that on an annualized basis generate approximately $60m in royalty revenue and significantly diversify our holdings," said Neil Cole, chairman and CEO.

"Iconix today owns 11 strong consumer brands that are expected to generate approximately $5bn in annual retail sales this year through over 150 licensees around the world.

"We will continue to be focused on executing our long-term growth strategy of expanding our existing portfolio and adding new iconic brands through acquisition."

The company reiterated previous guidance for 2007 revenues of between $150m and $160m and diluted earnings per share of $0.96 to $1.00.

The high side of the EPS range matches consensus estimates. The estimates exclude possible future acquisitions or payments resulting from a judgment last month in Iconix's favour in a suit alleging infringement of the Bongo trademark and other particulars. Iconix said that suit, filed against Sweet Sportswear, Hubert Guez and others, is subject to collection and possible appeal later this month.

Iconix's other brands include Candie's, Badgley Mischka, Joe Boxer, Rampage, Mudd, London Fog, Mossimo and Danskin.
By Arnold J Karr.