As the golf world focuses on one of its biggest competitions next weekend, companies are scrambling to get a bounce from this year's Ryder Cup. Many of the best golfers will be congregating a stone's throw from my house at the Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and amateur golfers will be drooling to emulate their long-driving heroes.
The Ryder Cup is a U.S. vs. The World competition with some of golf's biggest names. Nike
I wear many of Ashworth's golf shirts, and apparently other golfers and business casual dressers did the same in the company's third quarter. Ashworth's sales increased 13% in the period on a similar increase in domestic revenue and an 11% gain in international revenues. However, Ashworth's earnings of $0.17 per share (before a one-time charge to settle a 1999 class action lawsuit) was a cent below the analysts' consensus estimate.
The company recently made a key acquisition of Gekko Brands, a headwear and apparel marketer with licenses to more than 1,000 colleges and universities, the PGA tour, resorts, entertainment complexes, and NASCAR. The purchase expanded Ashworth's channels of distribution twofold, elevating it to a more solid global multibrand, multichannel business.
As a result of the Gekko acquisition, Ashworth raised its outlook for the remainder of the year. Net revenues are expected to increase 35% to 45% in the fourth quarter to a range of $43.7 million to $46.9 million ($41.2 million was the consensus estimate). Earnings are projected at $0.10 to $0.14 per share (previously $0.10 per share). Full-year numbers have also been upgraded: 13% to 15% revenue growth ($169 million to $172 million) and $0.56 to $0.60 earnings per share (after the $0.13 per-share, after-tax lawsuit charge). Looking ahead, Ashworth sees 2005 revenues of $207 million to $215 million and earnings of $0.76 to $0.82 per share.
This is all good news for a company that has been in need of a boost for its sound but limited product line. The Ashworth shares are trading at 11 times the $0.79 per-share average estimate for 2005, which is in the ballpark relative to its expected earnings growth rate. Although the company has taken on some debt with the Gekko acquisition, it appears that the more diverse product line will make Ashworth a more attractive investment.
Tee up and take a big swing at some of these articles:
- Olympics: No Ad Bonanza and MLB Swings for the Fences, by Phil Wohl
- Polo's Limping Gallop, by Tim Beyers
Phil Wohl spent more than 12 years on Wall Street and now concentrates his writing on more fictional characters. He has no stake in any firm mentioned above.