Outdoor financials: Columbia Sportswear reports rises in Q4, FY06 earnings, plus Johnson Outdoors, VF, Jarden, Quiksilver/Rossignol, Gander Mountain

Columbia Sportswear reports rises in Q4 and FY06 earnings, Johnson Outdoors reports Q1 drop in sales and profit, sale of division affects VF's FY06 bottom line, Jarden releases preliminary FY06 summary results and refinancing, Quiksilver names new head of Rossignol apparel business for Americas, and Gander Mountain realigns executives to drive growth.
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Columbia Sportswear reports rises in Q4, FY06 earnings
Fourth-quarter profit for Columbia Sportswear (Nasdaq: COLM), parent of Mountain Hardwear and Montrail, rose 4.9 percent on an increase in sportswear and outerwear sales.

The company earned $38.4 million, or $1.06 per share, compared with profit of $36.6 million, or $0.97 per share, during the same period a year prior. Revenue jumped 15 percent to $361.8 million from $314.1 million.

Compared to the fourth quarter of 2005, U.S. sales increased 14.6 percent to $212.4 million, other international sales increased 27.4 percent to $66.0 million, European sales increased 10.7 percent to $55.7 million, and Canadian sales increased 4.1 percent to $27.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2006.

For the fourth quarter of 2006, outerwear sales increased 22.3 percent to $180.3 million, sportswear sales increased 20.6 percent to $108.5 million, equipment sales increased 150.0 percent to $3.0 million, accessories sales increased 11.5 percent to $13.6 million, and footwear sales decreased 10.9 percent to $56.4 million, compared to the fourth quarter of 2005.

For FY 2006, Columbia Sportswear reported net sales of $1.28 billion, an increase of 11.4 percent over net sales of $1.15 billion for 2005. The company reported net income for 2006 of $123.0 million, a 5.9 percent decrease compared to net income of $130.7 million for 2005. Diluted earnings per share for 2006 were $3.36 on 36.6 million weighted average shares, net of $0.18 per diluted share of stock-based compensation expense, compared to diluted earnings per share of $3.36 for 2005 on 38.9 million weighted average shares.

Compared to 2005, U.S. sales increased 11.1 percent to $752.0 million, other international sales increased 20.3 percent to $216.3 million, European sales increased 8.1 percent to $199.2 million, and Canadian sales increased 4.7 percent to $120.2 million for 2006.

For 2006, sportswear sales increased 13.1 percent to $509.1 million, outerwear sales increased 12.8 percent to $496.5 million, equipment sales increased 116.5 percent to $19.7 million, footwear sales increased 4.0 percent to $219.7 million, and accessories sales decreased 5.5 percent to $42.7 million, compared to 2005.

Columbia Sportswear also raised its first-quarter profit outlook, due to a strong backlog of spring merchandise, and reaffirmed guidance for an 11 percent jump in sales. The company now sees profit of $0.59 per share, up from $0.57 previously, on revenue of about $288.8 million.

Spring product sales only account for a small fraction of the company's revenue, the bulk of which comes during the second half of the year. Full-year guidance will be issued when there is more visibility on the fall 2007 season, the company said.

Additionally, the company's board of directors also approved a dividend of $0.14 per share, payable on March 1, 2007, to shareholders of record on Feb. 15, 2007.

Johnson Outdoors reports Q1 drop in sales, profit
Johnson Outdoors (Nasdaq: JOUT) reported a slight drop in first-quarter sales, as well as a continued loss in profit.

Net sales were $71.7 million for the first quarter ended Dec. 29, 2006, a decrease of 1 percent compared to sales of $72.6 million for the prior year quarter. Net loss of $2.1 million, or a $0.23 loss per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2007 compared unfavorably to a net loss of $1.1 million, or a $0.12 loss per diluted share, in the prior year quarter.

Johnson Outdoors said that excluding the anticipated slowdown in military sales, which was $2.4 million below the prior year quarter, total company net sales for the first quarter would have been $1.5 million higher than the prior year quarter.

The company said key changes included:

>> Marine electronics revenues dipped 1.7 percent below last year due to delays in shipments to customers which resulted from a temporary gap in product component availability, as well as the transition to a new distribution center and ERP system upgrade.
>> Watercraft sales were 4.4 percent behind last year due largely to a shift in the pacing of orders from large national retailers.
>> Outdoor equipment revenues were down 5.7 percent as the expected slowing of military sales continued, declining 21 percent versus the prior year quarter, and growth in consumer camping was offset by weaker commercial tent sales.

Total company operating loss during the seasonally slow first quarter of $2.6 million compared to an operating loss of $800,000 in the prior year quarter. The loss was blamed on lower volume and higher commodity costs in the current quarter, lower sales in watercraft due to a shift in customer order pacing, and increased spending in marketing and sales to support innovative new product launches.

Sale of division affects VF's FY06 bottom line
Looking to make its apparel business leaner and more profitable, VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) said it would sell its Intimates brand but warned that the sale to Fruit of the Loom would hurt the company's 2006 bottom line.

VF, which produces various outdoor brands such as The North Face, JanSport, Napapijri and Eastpak, will use the $350 million in cash from the deal to repurchase shares this year.

"We do feel that the intimates business could be turned around with investment, but we feel we have a lot of opportunities for investment with a better return and faster growth," VF Chairman Mackey J. McDonald said in a conference call.

The sale, expected to close in the first quarter, will cost VF about $45 million, with about $41 million of the loss recorded in 2006 results. The company lowered its 2006 guidance from $5.05 per share to a new range of $4.70 to $4.72, excluding the Intimates division. VF also blamed a difficult retail environment for cutting another $0.02 to $0.04 per share out of its 2006 profit.

Without the Intimates division, McDonald said he expects the company to improve its profit margins closer to its goal of 14 percent. Intimates had represented about 12 percent of VF's total 2006 sales, but only 6 percent of its operating profit.

McDonald estimated 2007 earnings to grow by about 10 percent.

On Jan. 23 -- the day of the announcement -- VF's shares dropped $3.89 from the previous day to close at $76.46.

Jarden releases preliminary FY06 summary results, refinancing
Jarden Corp. (NYSE: JAH), parent of Coleman and Campingaz, timed the commencement of a cash tender offer with the release of preliminary summary results for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2006.

Net sales are estimated to be approximately $3.85 billion. Consolidated segment earnings are estimated to be in the range of $440 million to $442 million. Cash flow from operations is expected to exceed $250 million. Taking into consideration the company's over $200 million of cash at year-end, net indebtedness at Dec. 31, 2006, was approximately $1.24 billion. Capital expenditure for the year was approximately $68 million.

Consolidated segment earnings represents the company's performance measurement under SFAS 131 and is calculated as the company's earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation and amortization, excluding reorganization and acquisition-related costs (estimated at $42 million), stock-based compensation (estimated at $23 million) and profit in inventory (estimated at $10 million).

Jarden also said that, as part of a refinancing plan, it intends to commence a registered public offering for $400 million aggregate principal amount of senior subordinated unsecured notes on or about Feb. 5, 2007. In addition, Jarden said launched a cash tender offer for its $180 million aggregate principal amount 9-3/4 percent Senior Subordinated Notes due 2012. The tender offer will be funded with a portion of the proceeds from the new senior subordinated notes offering. The remainder of the proceeds from the $400 million notes offering will be used to pay down a portion of the term loan debt under Jarden's existing senior secured credit facilities.

As part of its refinancing and as a condition to the tender offer, Jarden said that it intends to seek an amendment to its existing senior secured credit facility to, among other things, obtain the consent of its lenders for the repurchase of all the existing notes and to modify certain terms and restrictive covenants to provide Jarden with increased flexibility.

Quiksilver names new head of Rossignol apparel business for Americas
Quiksilver (NYSE: ZQK) said it has hired Jose M. Garcia, a longtime outdoor apparel merchandising and design executive to head up the Rossignol softgoods business for the Americas. Based in Quiksilver/Rossignol's new Mountain Center headquarters in Park City, Utah, Garcia will direct the merchandising, sales and distribution of a full range of Rossignol branded technical and lifestyle apparel and accessories.

Garcia was most recent employed by Columbia Sportswear as outerwear merchandise manager responsible for the U.S. men's outerwear business for a variety of brands, including Columbia. Prior to that position, he held a variety of posts within Columbia Sportswear for its snowboard brand Convert. Prior to Columbia, Garcia was a senior designer at Fila USA.

Gander Mountain realigns executives to drive growth
Gander Mountain (Nasdaq: GMTN) has promoted vice president of finance Robert Vold to the role of chief financial officer and senior vice president. Vold is replacing former CFO Dennis Lindahl, who is taking on the position of executive vice president of strategy and business development.

Vold joined Gander Mountain in October 2005 as vice president of finance. He previously spent 17 years in positions of increasing responsibility in finance at Norstan, including chief financial officer. Vold began his career with Arthur Andersen LLP.

Lindahl has served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Gander Mountain since 2003. Previously, he was vice president and chief financial officer of Holiday Companies, where he played a key role in building Gander Mountain. Gander Mountain was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Holiday Companies prior to its initial public offering in 2004.

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