Sales grew by 2.5 percent in 2008 for Helly Hansen, or by 5 percent in constant currencies, reaching 1,489 million Norwegian kroner (€168m-$232m), or about 2 billion NOK (€225m-$312m) including licenses. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) went up by 29 percent to 152 million NOK (€17.1m-$23.8m).

While all regions saw growth, the strongest results were in Canada, the U.K., Scandinavia and Russia. France recorded substantial growth and Italy turned the corner. Helly Hansen is optimistic about its prospects in Southern Europe through more adapted new lines developed for spring/summer 2010.

Sales were strong in Norway and domestic pre-orders for the second half of 2009 are up in double digits. In Germany, where Helly Hansen has had a contract with USG since just last January, pre-orders are slightly above plan.

As of the end of the first quarter, Helly Hansen was about 5 percent over its position at the same point last year, and expects orders for the second half of the year to end up higher in the mid to high single digits, says its new chief executive, Peter Sjolander, who also noted that the current recession is of “historical proportions.”

The Norwegian-based company is planning expansion in Asia, and has signed a deal with Symphony Group in Hong Kong to open 100 to 150 stores in China in the next five years. Symphony is also the local partner of Berghaus. In South Korea Helly Hansen will work with Kumkang Shoe Company, which owns or franchises about 600 stores there. It will also continue its work with Goldwin in Japan and Bluerock in Australia.

As previously reported, the company is moving its headquarters from Moss to Oslo by the end of the year. The survival and marine units will stay in Moss, where the company was started in 1877, launching the world’s first waterproof jacket.