Lowrance first quarter sales up 26 percent

TULSA, Okla. – Marine electronics manufacturer Lowrance Electronics, Inc. (Nasdaq: LEIX) reported today a net loss for its fiscal 2004 first quarter, ended October 31, of $1,557,000, or $0.41 per diluted share, compared to $1,432,000, or $0.38 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2003.

Net sales increased to $14,036,000 compared to $11,155,000 last year, the company said in a statement.

“Sales increased 26 percent in our seasonally weakest quarter due to continuing strong shipments of new products,” said Darrell Lowrance, president and chief executive officer. “Gross profits increased 22 percent compared to the first quarter last year. Total operating expenses, as a percent of sales, actually declined in the quarter, to 50 percent of sales compared to 56 percent of sales in the same quarter last year.”

Lowrance also said expenses declined, as a percent of sales, despite a significant increase in research and development activities and sales and advertising efforts to support the introduction of a record number of new products this fall.

“We are already commencing shipment of our new GPS, SONAR and combination SONAR/GPS products,” he stated. “Strong dealer order rates have increased October 31, 2003, backlog by 24 percent compared to backlog at October 31, 2002.”

Lowrance commented regarding the company’s improved October 31, 2003, balance sheet, compared to the same quarter last year, “Even after paying a $940,000 dividend and investing over $1,000,000 in additional plant and equipment, our total debt still declined by $1,700,000.”

Lowrance Electronics, Inc. designs and manufactures SONAR and GPS products, digital mapping systems and other accessories for use in outdoor activities such as boating, fishing and hunting, as well as other pursuits, under the brand names “Lowrance” and “Eagle” Electronics.

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