UPDATE 1-SuperGroup buys out U.S. licence, to start div payments
(Adds detail, shares)
LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - SuperGroup, the British company behind the Superdry fashion brand, has gained the exclusive rights to distribute its products in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, terminating the existing U.S. licence by paying 22.3 million pounds ($33 million).
In a strategy update on Thursday from new Chief Executive Euan Sutherland the firm also said it would start paying dividends with an interim payout in its 2015-16 financial year, sending its shares up 8.3 percent, the top riser on the FTSE 250 Index.
The firm, whose trademark jackets, hooded tops, check shirts and jogging bottoms are popular with teenagers and twentysomethings, forecast a pretax profit of 60-65 million pounds for the 2014-15 year, in line with previous guidance.
In December SuperGroup reported a 30 percent fall in first half profit after warm autumn weather hit demand for clothing. However, trade rebounded in the Christmas period.
Termination of the 30 year north American licence, granted by SuperGroup to SDUSA LLC in 2008, follows the purchase of its Scandinavian, Spanish and German partners over the last 18 months.
SuperGroup expects the north American operations to be profitable from the 2016-17 year.
The firm also said actor Idris Elba would collaborate with Superdry to design and produce a premium line of clothing and named Penny Hughes, a former Coca Cola executive, as a non-executive director.
Last month the firm's finance director Shaun Wills quit after being declared bankrupt. His departure came two weeks after the abrupt exit of chief operating officer Susanne Given.
Shares in SuperGroup, which have nearly halved over the last year, stood at 1013 pence at 0823 GMT, valuing the business at around 800 million pounds.
($1 = 0.6705 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Neil Maidment)
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