Fitness financials: Life Fitness boosts Brunswick 1Q results; plus Precor helps Amer Sports

A recovering fitness market was evident from Brunswick and Amer Sports first-quarter 2011 earnings. Both diversified product companies noted strong growth from their fitness segments, including Life Fitness and Hammer Strength brands at Brunswick and Precor and Wilson brands at Amer.

Brunswick Corp. (NYSE:BC) reported higher revenue and swung to a profit with help from its fitness sector, including Life Fitness and Hammer Strength.

The Lake Forest, Ill.-based marine, bowling, billiards and fitness company reported revenue of $985.9 million for the first quarter 2011 – up 17 percent from $844.4 million during the same period a year ago. Brunswick reported a first-quarter profit of $27.5 million, or $0.30 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $13 million, or a loss of $0.15 per diluted share, a year ago.

Brunswick Chairman and CEO Dustan McCoy said higher sales levels in the company’s marine and fitness business positively affected overall earnings.

The company’s fitness segment saw sales rise 31 percent in the first quarter 2011 to $156.4 million, compared to $119 million during the same period a year ago. International sales, which represented 55 percent of total segment sales in the quarter, increased by 40 percent.

The fitness segment reported first-quarter operating earnings of $23.4 million – up from $9.5 million a year ago.

“Commercial equipment sales benefited from a large order from one of its customer categories during the quarter,” company officials said in the earnings release. “Improved operating earnings in the first quarter of 2011, when compared with 2010, reflect higher sales, a more favorable product mix and increased fixed-cost absorption.”

Looking ahead, McCoy said the company projected full-year 2011 earnings in a range of $0.30 to $0.50 per diluted share with a profitable second quarter, but a net loss in the second half of the year on expected higher capital expenditures.

Despite the better-than-expected first-quarter figures, Wall Street investors didn’t take Brunswick’s forecast of a net loss in the second half of the year well. The company’s stock was down 5 percent by mid-day April 28.

Amer Sports 1Q revenue, profit up with help from fitness

Amer Sports, parent of fitness brands Precor, Wilson and others reported higher revenue and profit for the first quarter.

The Helsinki, Finland-based diversified sporting goods company said the good performance was helped by 24-percent growth in its fitness sector to EUR 56.6 million (USD $84 million) in the first quarter 2011, compared to last year.

Within Amer’s fitness segment, the company said its consumer business was up 21 percent in local currencies and its commercial business was up 13 percent.

“In the North American fitness market, the commercial business started to show some early signs of recovery during 2010 and the market continued to improve through the first quarter of 2011,” company officials noted in the earnings release.

Companywide, Amer reported its first-quarter revenue at EUR 449.1 million (USD $666 million) – up 21 percent from EUR 372.6 million (USD $553 million) during the same period year ago. Net income rose to EUR 17.1 million (USD $25 million) from EUR 300,000 (USD $445,000) a year ago.

Amer’s winter and outdoor segment led growth – increasing 29 percent to EUR 233.5 million (USD $346 million). It’s ball sports segment grew 9 percent to EUR 159 million (USD $236 million).

By division, including those segments above, Amer’s footwear division led the way – increasing 45 percent to EUR 91.1 million (USD $135 million) with the strongest growth in hiking and trail running. Apparel grew 37 percent to EUR 38.9 million (USD $58 million), even across all sectors. Cycling grew 17 percent to EUR 34.4 million (USD $51 million). Sports instruments grew 16 percent to EUR 19.1 million (USD $28 million).

Winter sports equipment grew 11 percent to EUR 46.9 million (USD $70 million). In regional terms, North America experienced the highest growth rate, fueled by good snow conditions.

Looking ahead, Amer officials said that fall/winter pre-orders in footwear an apparel indicate that the strong momentum will continue. In winter sports, the company expects better results through several operational efficiency measures.

--Compiled by David Clucas

(Conversion of euros into U.S. dollars is for information only, is not necessarily relative to earnings, and is based on the currency rate as of April 28, 2011)

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