Marine Products Corp. breaks first-quarter sales record

ATLANTA – Marine Products Corp. (Amex: MPX), maker of Chaparral and Robalo boats, has generated the highest first quarter net sales in its history, according to unaudited results released by the company in a statement this morning.

MPX said net sales for the quarter ended March 31 were $61,830,000 – a 23.4-percent increase compared to $50,107,000 for the 2003 first quarter. The company attributed the growth to a 15.1-percent increase in the average sales price per boat, a 6.3-percent increase in the number of boats sold, and an increase in parts and accessories sales.

The growth in average sales price per boat was due to a favorable model mix, highlighted by volume increases in cruisers, sales of larger sportboats, and increases in sales of sport fishing boats, according to MPX.

Gross profit for the quarter was $15,723,000, or 25.4 percent of net sales, compared to $12,092,000, or 24.1 percent of net sales, in the prior year. The increase in gross profit as a percentage of net sales was due to higher production volumes and the increase in the average sales price per boat, MPX said.

Net income up a third

Net income for the quarter was $5,646,000, a 34.6-percent increase compared to $4,194,000 in the prior year. Net income increased due to higher operating income and a lower effective income tax rate, according to the company. The effective tax rate during the first quarter was 35 percent compared to an effective tax rate of 36 percent in the prior year, MPX said.

Operating income for the quarter was $8,564,000, a 33.0-percent increase compared to the first quarter last year. The boat builder attributed the growth to a higher gross profit, partially offset by higher selling, general and administrative expenses.

“The first quarter of 2004 continued the positive momentum from 2003. The winter boat show season was stronger than last year, which has increased our sales and reduced field inventories,” said Richard A. Hubbell, Marine Products’ CEO. “In fact, our field inventories are down 8 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2004 compared to the prior year.”

MPX believes customer service is key to its future growth and that its past success has created a “large population” of existing boat owners who require support. The company believes investments in customer service will be of great benefit in the future, according to Hubbell.

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