Dreaming of the big time

A MARGARET River company could be the next Billabong if predictions by its managing director Hamish Younger eventuate.

The company, which supplies surfware including clothing, roof racks, tie downs and surfboard bags, hopes to spread its wings around Australia and the world on the back of the success of leading surfware brands such as Billabong and RipCurl.

Margaret River brothers Dave and Brad Turriff-Smith launched the company in 1993.

Late last year the company was bought by mining exploration company North Star Limited which changed its name in April to Wet Dreams Limited.

The company board and management was restructured to push the marketing of the brand, while the mining interests of the company have taken a back step.

The company hopes to replicate the success of Billabong which has just raised $295 million with a public offer which closed 14 times oversubscribed.

On the first day of issue last Friday, Billabong shares soured 36 per cent above the $2.30 offer price giving the company a market capitalisation of about $600 million.

Billabong’s revenue is forecast to jump 47 per cent to $331 million next year.

Mr Younger said the success of Billabong was good news for Wetdreams because it showed how big the market was.

Revenue for Wet Dreams has been about $700,000 for the past two years but this is expected to grow to about $2 million next year.

With about 12 permanent staff based in Margaret River, the company hopes to shift the distribution of its clothing range to the Eastern States because of the larger market.

But Mr Younger appreciates the importance of being aligned to Margaret River because of its popularity with surfers.

“Margaret River is an important part of our branding right now. I think we will always have a presence in the Margaret River but I don’t think we will have a distribution warehouse there,” Mr Younger said.

While the business will continue to provide accessories, the real money was in clothing which could command up to a 60 per cent profit margin, Mr Younger said.

Clothing also appeals to a wider customer base than just surfers.

Wetdreams hopes to expand its clothing to the extreme sport market which has been growing rapidly. Worldwide, about 60 million people are estimated to be involved in some kind of extreme sport.

The company has had a difficult time convincing the market that it was a solid company with tangible sales.

“I think because we came from a gold sector background, many people thought we were an IT company,” he said.

“They paid the price for this when the market corrected earlier this year and stocks quickly went out of favour.”

In recent weeks the company share price fell to 3c after being as high as 30c.

After news of the company’s plans to raise $8 million for the expansion of its marketing campaign, the price recovered to be 11c earlier this week.


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