Shareholders offer 16.5M Express shares

AP News
Posted: Mar 22, 2011 12:14 PM
Shareholders offer 16.5M Express shares

Express Inc.'s largest shareholder and others plan to sell 16.5 million shares of the fashion retailer in a public offering, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday.

The news came as the seller of trendy jeans and T-shirts posted a fourth-quarter profit that beat Wall Street's expectations and offered a strong sales forecast for the next quarter and year.

The offering is worth up to $339 million, the company said in its filing, though that value was estimated to calculate the filing fee and could change.

The retailer's shares jumped 90 cents, or 5 percent, to $18.30 in Tuesday midday trading.

Golden Gate Private Equity, Limited Brands and members of management plan to offer the shares. Golden Gate owns 42.9 percent of the retailer's shares and Limited 14.3 percent. The investors took Express public nearly a year ago in an initial public offering.

Express' shares have ranged from $12.89 to $19.18 over the past year after debuting at $17 last May.

Express itself will not receive any proceeds from the offering.

Express also reported net income of $48.4 million, or 55 cents a share, in the three months ended Jan. 29. That's up from $46 million, or 60 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Quarterly revenue grew 14 percent to $621.5 million as revenue at stores open at least one year rose by 12 percent and net sales increased by 14 percent.

On average, analysts polled by FactSet expected a profit of 48 cents per share on $590.3 million in revenue.

For the year, earnings totaled $127.4 million, or $1.48 per share, up from $75.3 million, or $1 per share, in 2009. Revenue increased 11 percent to $1.91 billion from $1.72 billion.

Analysts were expecting a full-year profit of 98 cents per share on $1.72 billion in revenue.

Express also said it anticipates same-store sales to grow by the mid-single digits in the first quarter and for the year.

It expects first-quarter earning between 38 cents per share and 41 cents per share and 2011 earnings between $1.48 per share and $1.60 per share. Analysts had expected 38 cents per share for the first quarter and $1.35 per share for the year.