Johnson reports net sales and operating profits up

RACINE, Wis. – Johnson Outdoor Inc. issued a press release this morning reporting an increase in net sales and improved operating profits driven, in part, by the company’s Motors business.

Johnson’s earnings per diluted share were $0.02 for the first fiscal quarter ended Jan. 2, 2004, compared with a net loss per diluted share of $0.03 the prior year. The company said that favorable adjustments in accrual and reserve balances added $0.07 per diluted share in the current year. Similar favorable adjustments in the year-ago quarter added $0.03 per diluted share.

Total net sales grew 15 percent to $62.9 million, versus $54.9 million, with all four Johnson Outdoors business units — Motors, Outdoor Equipment, Watercraft and Global Diving — posting higher sales over the first quarter of last year.

Favorable currency translations totaling $2.0 million are reflected in net sales of the Company’s Global Diving unit, in a market sector that continues to face challenges related to the decline in travel to major dive destinations.

Operating profit increased to $1.3 million compared with $0.2 million in the quarter year-ago. Improvements in other businesses helped offset the operating loss in Watercraft resulting from continued operating inefficiencies, a delay in transitioning to production of new kayak designs and revised pacing of shipments to a major pedal boat customer.

“We continue to benefit from the diversity of our portfolio, as two of our businesses had a good start and two still face challenges, ” Johnson chairman and CEO Helen Johnson-Leipold said. “It is too soon to tell whether growing retailer and consumer confidence in the economy will have a positive impact across our market segments this year. Our priorities continue to be: improving operational efficiency in Watercraft; maintaining tight fiscal controls in Diving; and, advancing new product development efforts across our businesses.”

Johnson chief financial officer Paul Lehmann said the company’s debt to equity ratio has declined to 31 percent, its lowest point in 10 years, which in turn has strengthened Johnson’s liquidity and strategic flexibility.

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