Outdoor financials: Johnson Outdoors swings to profit in Q4, plus Kellwood, Eddie Bauer, Luxottica/Oakley, Jarden, Outdoor Channel, Liz Claiborne

Johnson Outdoors swings to profit in Q4, Kellwood rejects buyout offer again and Sun Capital considers hostile bid, Eddie Bauer Q3 loss narrows, Luxottica and Oakley finalize merger, Jarden names Outdoor Solutions CEO, Outdoor Channel receives Nasdaq de-listing warning, and Liz Claiborne's board OKs additional buyback.
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Johnson Outdoors swings to profit in Q4

Johnson Outdoors (Nasdaq: JOUT) said it swung to a fiscal fourth-quarter profit, partly on marine electronics and diving revenue growth.

The company reported net income for the period of $1.5 million, or $0.16 per share, compared with a loss of $924,000, or $0.10 cents per share, in the previous year.

Quarterly revenue grew to $87.7 million, up 9 percent from $80.3 million a year ago.

Net sales for the watercraft division's quarter dropped to $18.6 million from $19.2 million in the previous year. The company said the revenue decline came largely because of a shift in customer order pacing versus the prior year.

Outdoor equipment revenues decreased 25 percent -- $9.3 million this quarter versus $12.4 million last year -- due to anticipated declines in military tent sales and $3.1 million of non-repeatable specialty market sales in the prior year quarter, it said.

Marine electronics revenue climbed to $33 million from $25.3 million, while diving revenue increased to $26.8 million from $23.3 million.

Total company operating profit of $1.8 million in the fourth quarter compared favorably to an operating loss of $700,000 in the same period last year. Operating profit improvement was due to increased sales volume and the recovery of $2.9 million related to a prior year flood.

For the year, earnings rose 6 percent to $9.2 million, or $1 per share, compared with $8.7 million, or $0.95 per share, in the prior year. Full-year sales increased 9 percent to $432.1 million from $395.8 million.

Year-end sales for each segment were: outdoor equipment, $55.8 million versus $65.9 million in FY06; watercraft, $90.3 million versus $87.3 million; marine electronics, $198.0 million versus $164.4 million; and diving, $88.6 million versus $78.4 million.

Johnson Outdoors' brands include, among others, Old Town, Ocean Kayak, Necky and Lendal.

Kellwood rejects buyout offer again, Sun Capital considers hostile bid

For the second time, Kellwood (NYSE: KWD) has rejected a $543.9 million buyout offer from Sun Capital Securities Group, prompting the investment firm to consider a hostile takeover.

Sun Capital, which owns a 9.9 percent stake in Kellwood, first made its bid of $21 a share in September. Kellwood's board rejected it in October, saying the offer undervalued the company and was not in the best interest of shareholders.

Sun Capital reaffirmed its same proposal and added that it was prepared to take the offer straight to shareholders.

"The Kellwood board strongly believes in the company's ability to successfully execute its strategic plan and provide greater value to its shareholders than Sun Capital's proposal," Kellwood said in a statement.

Kellwood shares rose $1.85, or 11.2 percent, to close at $18.36 on Nov. 13 -- about 19 percent below the price Sun Capital is offering. Kellwood has traded in a 52-week range of $14.21 to $34.84.

In a letter to Kellwood's board, Sun Capital expressed doubt that Kellwood's projected growth is attainable, considering its past performance.

It wrote: "The lack of execution since mid-2005 has resulted in a significant deterioration in both financial results and shareholder value. We believe that receiving $21 per share in cash now represents superior value for shareholders, especially on a risk-adjusted basis, compared to what they can expect to realize through Kellwood's pursuit of its long-term plan."

But Kellwood's statement said the company is "positioned to become a brand-focused marketing enterprise, leading to sustained sales growth and double digit increases in net earnings and earnings per share."

Kellwood's outdoor portfolio includes Sierra Designs, Kelty, Royal Robbins, Slumberjack, Ultimate Direction and Wenzel.

Eddie Bauer Q3 loss narrows

Eddie Bauer Holdings (Nasdaq: EBHI) said its fiscal third-quarter loss narrowed as same-store sales improved.

The company reported a loss for the quarter ended Sept. 29 of $16.4 million, or $0.54 per share, compared with a loss of $197.6 million, or $6.58 per share during the same period last year. The prior third-quarter operating loss included a $117.6 million asset-impairment charge related to the write-down of the company's goodwill.

Revenue was nearly flat at $211 million, down from $211.3 million last year. Revenue from the company's direct channel, including catalog and Web sites, fell 0.7 percent. Same-store sales rose 3.4 percent.

Selling, general and administrative expenses rose $8.7 million due in part to costs associated with executive recruitment, a corporate headquarters move and higher professional services fees, the company said.

The company added that it is working on a cost cutting plan for 2008 to improve its performance and long-term growth. As part of the plan, it expects reductions in the operating cost structure of $25 million to $30 million in 2008.

Luxottica and Oakley finalize merger

Luxottica Group (NYSE: LUX) and Oakley (NYSE: OO) said jointly they have completed the merger between the two companies for a total purchase price of approximately $2.1 billion. Oakley is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Luxottica Group and, as a result of the completion of the merger, Oakley's shares ceased trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 14.

In accordance with the terms of the June 2007 merger agreement, Oakley's outstanding shares of common stock have been converted into the right to receive $29.30 per share, in cash. Citibank has been appointed as the paying agent for Luxottica Group.

Jarden names Outdoor Solutions CEO

Jarden Corp. (NYSE: JAH) has appointed Gregory S. Shearson as president and CEO of Jarden Outdoor Solutions. Shearson, 42, was most recently president of Tropicana Beverages North America.

Jarden's Outdoor Solutions segment has a broad portfolio of outdoor and active lifestyle products that includes Coleman, Shakespeare, Stearns, K2, Volkl, Ride and Marmot in niche markets including camping, backpacking, fishing, water sports, baseball, skiing, snowboarding and high performance technical outdoor apparel.

Outdoor Channel receives Nasdaq de-listing warning

Outdoor Channel Holdings (Nasdaq: OUTD) said it has been warned by the Nasdaq Stock Market that the exchange may stop trading in the company's stock because of a delayed quarterly report.

The company said it received a letter from the exchange saying it is not in compliance with listing requirements because it has not filed a quarterly financial statement for the period ended Sept. 30.

The company said its earnings are late because its accountants have determined the company needs to increase the amount of past stock-based compensation costs it recognized in the first two quarters of the year. Outdoor Channel said it plans to restate its earnings for the those quarters as soon as possible.

It added that trading in the stock could be suspended Nov. 26 unless the company requests a hearing with a Nasdaq review panel. It plans to request a hearing, and its stock will remain listed until the panel rules on the matter.

Compensation costs are still expected to total $6.6 million for the full year, it said.

Liz Claiborne's board OKs additional buyback

Liz Claiborne (NYSE: LIZ), parent of Prana, said its board of directors authorized a stock buyback of another $100 million of its outstanding shares. Liz Claiborne said its total authorization in its stock repurchase plan is now $2.28 billion.

The company said as of the close of trading on Nov. 9, it had bought back about 105.5 million shares for some $2.18 billion. It added that it had about 97.7 million shares outstanding.

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