By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Sunbeam has had a return to form in electric blanket sales and predicted a strong year for heating products in general.

Sunbeam parent company GUD Holdings’ managing director, Ian Campbell, said the early onset of colder weather both locally and in New Zealand had helped spur sales and predicted more to come.

“We’ve had a very strong April. May looks as if it’s going to be strong as well. Electric blankets are very good for us at this time of year and we’ve had some cold weather in Australia and New Zealand, so that’s good.

“Last year was a very warm winter … and this year, it’s been cold and it was cold early, so this is going to be strong season for heating and blankets.”

He said sales to date had been “well in excess” of last year’s sales.

“Our consumer businesses generally have done very well and there’s no reason to think that that’s not going to continue,” Campbell said.

Regarding GUD’s recent share buyback, Campbell said it was due to a desire to increase returns to shareholders by reducing shareholder numbers.

“Since I’ve been at GUD, we’ve bought back over ten per cent of those shares. And providing it’s earnings-per-share accretive, and it’s a good thing for shareholders, it’s actually a … good capital management tool for keeping your share register tight,” he said.

The buyback would continue until the company had cancelled five per cent of the company’s shares, he said.

Campbell also reiterated his statement that sales would rise 15 per cent this year.