Brunswick Boat Group 2004 sales up 40 percent

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Brunswick Boat Group sales for the year ended Dec. 31 were up 40 percent to $2,271.1 million from $1,616.9 million in 2003, parent company Brunswick Corp. reported in a recent statement.

Brunswick Boat Group comprises the Boat segment and includes the Sea Ray, Bayliner, Maxum, Hatteras, Sealine, Meridian, Boston Whaler, Trophy, Sea Pro, Baja, Crestliner, Lowe, Lund and Princecraft boat brands and the Land ‘N’ Sea, Swivl-Eze and Attwood marine parts and accessories distribution and manufacturing businesses.

Excluding incremental sales from acquisitions, Boat segment sales were up 19 percent for the year. Operating earnings for the Boat segment more than doubled to $149.3 million from $63.9 million in 2003, and operating margins improved to 6.6 percent compared with 4.0 percent in 2003.

The Boat segment reported sales for the fourth quarter of $561.9 million, up 35 percent compared with $414.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2003. Boat segment sales benefited from healthy sales across its boat brands, according to Brunswick, including those of its Aluminum Boat Group, which was formed in early 2004 with the acquisition of the Crestliner, Lowe and Lund brands.

Excluding the aluminum boat acquisitions, sales increased 17 percent in the quarter, pointing to strong organic growth within the Boat Group, particularly among Boston Whaler, Sea Ray, US Marine and Hatteras, all of which posted double-digit sales gains, Brunswick reported.

Operating earnings for the Boat segment increased to $24.2 million, up 160 percent from $9.3 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2003, and operating margins increased by 210 basis points to 4.3 percent.

On the parts and accessories side, Brunswick Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George W. Buckley highlighted the company’s “growing ability to provide parts on a same-day or next-day basis to nearly all of North America.” Boat P&A sales reached $193 million in 2004, he said.

“The strong growth in sales reflects the first increase in retail demand for the boating industry since 2000 and the success of new and innovative products introduced in 2004,” Buckley said. More than 37 new boat models are scheduled for launch in 2005, he added.

“We are also pleased to report the successful turnaround of our US Marine Division, which returned to profitability for the first time since 2000. This, along with effective cost management, was a significant contributor to the improved operating earnings performance of the Boat segment,” Buckley explained.

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