Tiger Woods is hobbled. Augusta is having a problem installing clubhouse restrooms for women. The weather is getting colder, and your golf scores aren't getting any hotter. If you were a Callaway Golf
Callaway has taken a swing with one of its oversized titanium drivers, overshooting Wall Street's expectations with full-year profit estimates between $0.96 and $1.00 a share. Analysts were pegged at the $0.92 mark. The company also sees fiscal 2003's first period coming in well above projections.
Last month, the California-based company had us teed off over its inability to return to growth. Its top line peaked five years ago, and bottom-line growth looked like a freshly mowed piece of green, so it was easy to be skeptical. "Until the company shows some resiliency, it's probably best to putt around this hazard," we warned.
Last night's report is a near-term bonus, but Callaway isn't out of the hilly woods just yet. The company sees flat sales growth next year. While it continues to achieve savings by trimming away corporate overhead and consolidating operations, like most companies, it eventually has to show some top-line improvement to drive the stock back into favor.
Still, flat sales growth during a lukewarm economy could be considered a relative victory. Golf is a game of handicapping scores, so Callaway's playing well by just staying put right now. If the brand and its widening product lines remain popular as disposable income becomes a little more disposable, it may not be a sub-par performance for Callaway, after all.