ThinkSmart Posts 39% Increase In EBITDA

ThinkSmart Posts 39% Increase In EBITDA

ThinkSmart Posts 39% Increase In EBITDA

– Establishes New Territories And Revenue Lines To Accelerate Future Growth

– EBITDA increase of 39% to $5.7m excluding IPO costs and US start up costs

– Positive Florida launch accelerates plans for North American rollout

– French trial with Media-Saturn to target late 2008 launch

– Store count expanding for Italian and New Zealand businesses

ThinkSmart Limited (ASX:TSM), an international computer and office equipment financing company, today reported an increase of 39% in EBITDA (excluding IPO costs and US start up costs) of $5.7 million for the six months ended 30 June 2008, up from $4.1m in the previous corresponding period.

“This is a solid result in a very challenging global environment,” said ThinkSmart founder and CEO Ned Montarello. “We’ve boosted earnings against the backdrop of a higher Australian dollar, higher interest rates and an unsettled global economy.”

ThinkSmart declared an interim dividend of 2 cents a share, partly franked to 40%, payable to shareholders on the register on 3rd October 2008.

Mr Montarello said ThinkSmart remains on track to meet its full-year prospectus forecasts, excluding the adverse foreign exchange movement and allowing for the cost of setting up in the USA.

“EBITDA growth in our core markets has been strong and has proven our model’s resilience in the current economic climate,” said Mr Montarello.  “Revenue rose 20% in the U.K. and 19% in Australia.

“We’ve also focused our business to deliver new territories and revenue lines that were not a part of prospectus forecasts, and as we establish these through the remaining half of 2008 we are positioning ourselves for continued  growth in 2009 and beyond.”

ThinkSmart’s successful rollout into Florida in the United States with Office Depot, the world’s second largest office supplies superstore chain, has seen the business bring forward plans for national expansion, with all 137 Texas stores confirmed for a late September launch and 159 Californian stores targeted prior to Christmas.  The subsequent roll-out to the remaining 758 stores is scheduled for Q1 2009.

“Clearly the US presents as a wonderful opportunity and the positive early indications have seen our partner look to bring forward the product roll-out with us which should see us operating in approximately a third of their market by the end of the year.

“In Europe, while the economic environment remains challenging, the opportunity to both consolidate and grow our niche is exciting.  We expect to expand store count with PC City in Italy as they restructure through this year to implant their stores in their larger parent chain, UniEuro.  And in France, we’ve entered into an agreement with Media-Saturn, which is an enormous electrical chain in Europe, to trial in their stores in the second half.  Strategically, that offers significant upside for our business.

“Closer to home we are seeing continued solid growth with our partners Dick Smith and JB Hi-Fi in the Australian market and a reinvigoration of the Officeworks channel.  We’ll benefit in this second half of the year from our agreement with Dick Smith to launch into their 65 New Zealand stores, and we have begun to see significant traction with the warranty services product we launched in March and provided through the DSE chain both in Australia and New Zealand.”

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