February 10, 2020 / 1:24 AM / 14 days ago

Australia's JB Hi-Fi raises annual outlook after strong HY results

Feb 10 (Reuters) - Australian electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi Ltd bucked broader gloomy sales conditions to report a higher first-half profit on Monday and raised its annual earnings forecast, sending shares to a record high.

The results come at a time when damages from months-long bushfires are certain to hit Australian corporate earnings amid worries over the impact of the coronavirus epidemic in China.

Goldman Sachs analysts had expected JB Hi-Fi to benefit from higher air purifier sales as smoke from the bushfires shrouds big cities.

January sales were stable and the company did not see any impact from bushfires in the first weeks of the month, Group Chief Executive Officer Richard Murray said on a call with investors.

Its shares rose as much as 10.2% to a record high of A$44.19.

The Victoria-headquartered company posted a net profit of A$170.6 million ($113.89 million) for the six months to Dec. 31, compared with A$160.1 million a year earlier. Its revenues rose nearly 4% to about A$4 billion.

For the full year, it expects a total net profit after tax to be in the range of A$265 million to A$270 million, an increase of 6.1%-8.1% from a year ago.

JB Hi-Fi also raised its annual total sales outlook to A$7.33 billion from A$7.25 billion previously.

The company announced an interim dividend of 99 cents per share, up 8.8% from the previous corresponding period.

Total sales at The Good Guys, the home appliances-focused chain it acquired in 2016, grew 1.5% to A$1.15 billion, with earnings before income tax margin rising 50 basis points to 4.4%. ($1 = 1.4979 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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