By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Thorn Group Limited, the company that owns Radio Rentals, Rentlo and Big Brown Box, has today reported a half-year net profit after tax of $10.8 million. This is a 36 per cent increase on the same period last year.

This result, which is for the six months to 31 October 2009, is an $8 million improvement on last year’s first half result. Other positive figures for the company include 15 per cent increase in revenue, 7.6 per cent increase in customer numbers and an EBIT increase of 34.5 per cent.

Thorn Group managing director John Hughes said this news reinforces his belief in the group’s business model.

“Whichever way you look at it, this is a very positive result, particularly considering the economic conditions that have prevailed during the period and our investment in strategic growth initiatives,” he said.

“The inherent strength of the recurring revenue streams within our core rental business, couples with significant customer growth, an unabated demand for PCs and flat panel televisions along with solid increases in whitegoods and furniture really stands us in good stead.”

Interestingly, Hughes also noted that part of Thorn Group’s success is based on a record low level of late payments by its rental customers. Hughes said this reflected the group’s consciousness of consumers’ levels of affordability. It appears to run contra to an instinctive view that harsh economic times would lead to an increase in late payments.

Hughes said the Big Brown Box online endeavour was also performing well, especially with rural customers.

“Big Brown Box is really starting to gain some momentum and it is great to see a good steady increase in sales together with very positive customer feedback, particularly from those people in regional areas.”