Johnson Outdoors’ watercraft losses continue

RACINE, Wis. - Johnson Outdoors Inc. (Nasdaq: JOUT) experienced declines in operating profit and earnings on increased net sales for the fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2004 compared with the prior year period, it reported in a recent statement.

First quarter operating profits in the company's Marine Electronics and Outdoor Equipment businesses were offset by losses in its Watercraft and Diving businesses. The company noted that, due to the seasonality of its markets, quarterly net sales are historically slower during the first and fourth fiscal quarters.

Total company net sales increased by 19.1 percent for the quarter, driven by the Marine Electronics and Outdoor Equipment business units. While net sales in Marine Electronics increased by 54.7 percent over the same period last year, driven primarily by the Humminbird brand acquired in May 2004, operating profit for the unit declined due to unfavorable volume variances in the Minn Kota product line.

Watercraft posted a slight decline in net sales and reduced operating losses versus the first fiscal quarter of 2004.

The company realized a net loss for the first quarter of $1.0 million or $.12 per diluted share compared with net income of $0.2 million or $.02 per diluted share in the comparable period last year.

Charges related to the previously announced going private transaction added $0.9 million to operating expenses for the quarter bringing the total charges related to this transaction to $2.4 million since February 20, 2004, the company reported. Operating expenses for the quarter were also impacted by currency ($0.7 million), Watercraft restructuring ($0.5 million) and the addition of the Humminbird business ($2.5 million.)

"Taking action to ensure the long-term health and profitability of our businesses is job one at Johnson Outdoors," said Helen Johnson-Leipold, chairman and chief executive officer. "For us, that means continually investing in innovation to grow our markets, while at the same time building the capacity and capability for growth within our businesses.

“With the integration of Humminbird completed, our Marine Electronics Group is now focused on maximizing synergies and leveraging the marketing strength of the Minn Kota brand to grow Humminbird sales. We continue to make good progress in Watercraft, but more work and more time is needed for improvements to be reflected on the bottom-line."

Johnson Outdoors' brands include, among others: Old Town canoes and kayaks; Ocean Kayak and Necky kayaks; Minn Kota motors; Humminbird fishfinders; SCUBAPRO and SnorkelPro; UWATEC dive equipment; and Eureka! tents.

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