Outdoor financials: Bushnell acquires assets of Simmons Outdoor, plus Lafuma Group, VF, Wolverine, Johnson Outdoors, GSI Commerce

Bushnell acquired assets of Simmons Outdoor, Lafuma Group reported a profit loss, VF said its chairman would retire, Wolverine appointed a president of its global operations group, Johnson Outdoors was awarded a $96 million contract, and GSI Commerce said it would close its Portland distribution center.

Bushnell acquires assets of Simmons Outdoor

Bushnell Outdoor Products has acquired the Simmons brand and certain other assets of Simmons Outdoor Corp. from Meade Instruments Corp. Bushnell is a privately held company funded by MidOcean Partners, a private equity firm with offices in New York and London.

The parties signed a definitive purchase agreement, and the transaction closed on June 12. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Simmons is a provider of optical products, and the acquisition includes binoculars, spotting scopes and riflescopes.

"Acquisition of the Simmons line is consistent with MidOcean's strategy of expanding the Bushnell platform through select strategic acquisitions," said David Basto, a principal at MidOcean Partners, in a statement. "Our goal is to identify attractive brands which we can improve by leveraging Bushnell's strong distribution channel and management expertise."

Lafuma Group reports profit loss

Lafuma Group posted a loss of EUR 700,000 (USD $1.07 million) for the period ending March 31 compared to a profit of EUR 1.6 million (USD $2.46 million) the year before. Lafuma Group is parent of the Lafuma, Millet, Le Chameau and Oxbow brands, as well as the recently acquired Eider brand.

Sales were up slightly to EUR 120.7 million (USD $185.7 million) compared to EUR 120 million (USD $184.6 million) in the same period last year. Operating profit was down 82.4 percent to EUR 800,000 (USD $1.23 million) from EUR 4.2 million (USD $6.46 million) the year before.

The company attributed the profit decline to "a difficult business context and a sustained pace in pursuing investments and development," as well as costs related to the Eider buyout. From a financial standpoint, the company said the first half of the year was impacted by a slow-down in business and a decline in profitability in three divisions: Lafuma, Millet, and Oxbow. Business for the group has been hit by economic factors and weather conditions, except for Asia, which was up 17 percent.

Lafuma Group said that sales for Eider were EUR 21.3 million (USD $32.7 million) in 2007. Of the acquisition, it said the addition would generate significant synergies for both products and markets. The Eider deal will have a relative effect, given complementarities and the terms and conditions of the acquisition, affording the group a better control over the French market and a reinforcement of international development, it added.

(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 June 12.)

VF chairman to retire

VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) said Chairman Mackey McDonald would retire as chairman of the board and as a director of VF Corp., effective Aug. 1. VF’s Board of Directors has elected President and Chief Executive Officer Eric Wiseman, 52, to the role of Chairman upon McDonald’s retirement.

The company said that McDonald’s retirement completes VF’s planned leadership succession, which began with the promotion of Wiseman to president and chief operating officer in March 2006 and CEO in January 2008.

McDonald, 61, completes a 25-year career with VF that included 11 years as CEO and 10 years as chairman. He was named president of VF in 1993, CEO in 1996 and chairman in 1998.

Wolverine appoints president of global operations group

Wolverine World Wide (NYSE: WWW), parent of Merrell, has appointed Michael McBreen to the position of president, global operations group. He will be responsible for all supply chain operations for the company, including sourcing, manufacturing, distribution and logistics.

McBreen was most recently the vice president, supply chain and logistics for Furniture Brands International. Before that, he held several senior positions at Nike.

Johnson Outdoors awarded $96 million contract

Johnson Outdoors (Nasdaq: JOUT) was awarded a $96 million Defense Logistics Agency contract to supply shelters, trailers and related components for all branches of the military, the Defense Department said.

GSI closing Portland distribution center

GSI Commerce (Nasdaq: GSIC) said its e-commerce retail-and-distribution center in Portland, Tenn., will close Sept. 30, and 148 people will be laid off.

The company said the center is closing because the Restoration Hardware company has decided to move its distribution in house.

The company has four fulfillment centers, four customer-care centers, two data centers, and three office locations nationwide. The Portland site is the only one to close down, and employees are being offered retention bonuses, it added.

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