Australian surfwear company Billabong International has reported a 13.8% lift in net profit for the six months of its financial year, which ended 31 December 2006, with strong growth worldwide.

Profit increased to AUD$90.5m (US$71.6m), compared to $79.5m in the previous corresponding half, with group sales revenue up 26.1% to $610.7m from $484.3m previously.

Billabong International chief executive Derek O'Neill said the company continued to post strong growth worldwide.

"All regions reached record sales levels and it is a result that reflects the growing global demand for our products," said O'Neill. "The group result was excellent and it was particularly pleasing to see Europe match the robust growth we have been achieving for some time in the Americas.

"The areas outside of Australia continue to grow as a percentage of our overall business and there are strong indications the demand has continued into the second half."

Sales in the Americas were up 33.5% in constant currency terms, or 31.2% as reported in Australian dollars. In Europe, sales rose 35.2% in constant currency terms, or 39.5% as reported in Australian dollars.

The Australasian region, buoyed by the November acquisition of the Amazon retail business in New Zealand, had sales growth of 14.2% in constant currency terms or 13.1% as reported in Australian dollars.

Overall group EBITDA rose 11.8% in constant currency terms or 11.2% as reported in Australian dollars, while earnings per share lifted 14.0% to 44.0 cents per share.

The company's directors declared an interim dividend of 23.5 cents per share, a rise of 14.6% on the previous corresponding period.