Outdoor financials: Eddie Bauer prepays $20 million in debt, plus Crocs

Eddie Bauer prepays $20 million in debt and PiperJaffray analyst names Crocs a 'top pick' for 2008.

Eddie Bauer prepays $20 million in debt

Eddie Bauer Holdings (Nasdaq: EBHI) said it prepaid $20 million of a long-term loan, with $196 million still outstanding.

The company said it is in compliance with terms of the agreement, signed April 4, 2007, with lenders Goldman Sachs Credit Partners LP and JP Morgan Chase Bank NA.

CFO Marv Toland said in a statement, "We expect to be in compliance with our financial covenants through the fourth quarter of 2007, even without this prepayment. We believe that the voluntary prepayment from cash on hand provides us with additional operating flexibility to manage the business while remaining in compliance with loan covenants."

PiperJaffray analyst names Crocs a 'top pick' for 2008

Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX) has been chosen as a "top pick" for 2008 by a PiperJaffray analyst based on strong sales and new style introductions. Shares of Crocs rose on the news.

PiperJaffray analyst Jeffrey P. Klinefelter said in a note to investors that channel checks indicate Croc's "Mammoth" fleece-lined brand was sold out across retail channels. "Our sales checks across multiple domestic and international markets suggest sales of Crocs branded footwear remain solid," he wrote.

Klinefelter added that inventory should remain high as the company ramps up overseas sales. "Based on significant capacity increases in Europe, sales growth forecasts, new door additions, and new style introductions, we anticipate (year-end) inventory to be up in excess of 200 percent to the prior year and similar to the third-quarter level," he wrote.

He said Crocs was a top pick in 2008 and said estimates appear appropriately conservative. "We favor Crocs shares for potential price appreciation during 2008," he wrote.

He reiterated a "Buy" rating and $82 price target.

Shares rose $1.64 cents to $38.45 during midday trading on Jan. 2.

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