The great outdoors is great when you can get out there, but in the winter months, with the snow and cold weather, people are usually pursuing the OK indoors. For a recreational products company like Johnson Outdoors
Though revenues for the first quarter climbed to $75 million, a 19% advance over last year, profits and earnings fell through the ice. The company reported losses of over $1 million, or $0.12 a share, versus a $160,000 profit last year that equaled $0.02 per share. Things would have been worse had it not been for increasing tent sales to the military. Johnson Outdoors' Eureka! line was solely responsible for the 19% jump in revenues and the 37% increase in operating profit for the outdoor equipment segment. Yet the company expects military sales to be off by 40% for the balance of the year, and it wasn't enough this quarter to offset the losses in its watercraft and diving divisions.
Johnson Outdoors has also been distracted throughout the last year by its "going private" deal, which has added some $2.4 million in expenses. The Johnson family, led by Chairman and CEO Helen Johnson-Leipold, is retaking control of the company in a deal that was supposed to close by the first quarter but has not yet been finalized. The deal was originally proposed last February for a price of $18 a share, and the board of directors finally agreed upon a $20 share price.
The going private transaction follows a series of restructurings and reorganizations the company has wrestled with over the years as it tried to find its niche. It got out of the fishing business, third-party manufacturing of electric motors, and outdoor clothing lines; acquired brands of kayaks, canoes, and various other watercrafts; and consolidated its marine equipment and diving segments. The moves left it as an ineffective business during the first and fourth quarters, when it regularly hemorrhages red ink.
Contrast that with K2
Johnson Outdoors has also been willing to acquire other businesses, most recently the Humminbird brand of fish finders and Global Positioning Systems, though with competitors Garmin
Otherwise, it can just sit in front of the fireplace and admire the falling snow.
Catch up on the developments in the recreational sports field:
Fool contributor Rich Duprey has been said to resemble a snowman. He owns shares of K2 but does not own any of the other stocks mentioned in the article.