Johnson Outdoors’ watercraft biz contributes to losses

RACINE, Wis. — Johnson Outdoors Inc. reported today that net sales for the fiscal year ended October 3 declined 8 percent, and operating profit declined 41 percent, due to the inclusion of Jack Wolfskin in the prior year, operational issues in Watercraft and unusual charges taken during the year totaling $8.0 million, according to the company.

A strong fourth quarter finish by the Motors and Outdoor Equipment businesses was offset by continued operational issues in the company’s Watercraft business, which resulted in losses prior to other charges, according to the company.

Johnson Outdoors’ fourth quarter sales increased 1 percent, while operating losses increased $1.1 million, negatively affecting earnings per diluted share.

Fourth quarter charges totaling $4.0 million ($0.29 per diluted share) drove additional operating losses for the quarter. These charges, which stem from operational changes to improve long-term efficiency and rationalize the company’s manufacturing capacity and inventory investments, include: costs to close the Miami, Florida Extrasport facility and outsource production ($0.9 million); reorganizations in the Watercraft and Outdoors Equipment businesses ($0.7 million); and production and product line changes and associated write-downs of inventory, tooling and equipment ($2.4 million).

Johnson Outdoors’ earnings per diluted share were $0.63 for the 2003 fiscal year ended October 3. The company reported a net loss per diluted share for the fourth quarter of $0.43 compared to net income in 2002 of $2.38 per diluted share, which included a $2.62 per diluted share gain on the sale of the Jack Wolfskin business.

More improvement on the horizon for watercraft biz

“Looking ahead, Motors’ performance is strong and Diving is rebounding, but with the loss of a major contract, Outdoor Equipment is unlikely to match this year’s excellent results,” said Helen Johnson-Leipold, chairman and chief executive officer. “In addition, while we have taken aggressive steps to improve Watercraft, more progress is needed to produce solid results. We have considerable upside potential, but now we need to execute and perform.”

Johnson Outdoors is an outdoor recreation company that designs, manufactures and markets a portfolio of brands across four categories: Watercraft, Motors, Diving and Outdoor Equipment.

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